Research Projects  Categorization – Morphing

 

We assume that thinking incorporates the active manipulation of mental contents. Therefore a key question in human thinking is how those contents were encoded, retrieved stored and manipulated. A further question is how our neural systems decide whether a perceived object belongs to a category or not, whether it is a new unfamiliar object, or old and well known.

 

We are interested in the basic neural mechanism that are at work when we categorize objects, that is when we decide whether an object belongs to a particular category. We propose a model that explains the robustness, fastness, and flexibility by morphing processes that mimic mathematical topological transformations.

In this project we focused on processes involved in categorizing different objects as members of the same basic level category. For this reason we created a set of familiar object categories and varied the object shape within categories in a parametric way. This was achieved by morphing between members of the same basic category.

Participants were asked to judge whether two consecutively presented objects belong to the same or to different categories. During the task we recorded the EEG from 128 electrode sites. We proposed a parametric variation of the evolved event related potentials with the morphing distance between two objects.