Metric invariance in object recognition: a review and further evidence.

E. E. Cooper, I. Biederman, J. E. Hummel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phenomenologically, human shape recognition appears to be invariant with changes of orientation in depth (up to parts occlusion), position in the visual field, and size. Recent versions of template theories (e.g., Ullman, 1989; Lowe, 1987) assume that these invariances are achieved through the application of transformations such as rotation, translation, and scaling of the image so that it can be matched metrically to a stored template. Presumably, such transformations would require time for their execution. We describe recent priming experiments in which the effects of a prior brief presentation of an image on its subsequent recognition are assessed. The results of these experiments indicate that the invariance is complete: The magnitude of visual priming (as distinct from name or basic level concept priming) is not affected by a change in position, size, orientation in depth, or the particular lines and vertices present in the image, as long as representations of the same components can be activated. An implemented seven layer neural network model (Hummel & Biederman, 1992) that captures these fundamental properties of human object recognition is described. Given a line drawing of an object, the model activates a viewpoint-invariant structural description of the object, specifying its parts and their interrelations. Visual priming is interpreted as a change in the connection weights for the activation of: a) cells, termed geon feature assemblies (GFAs), that conjoin the output of units that represent invariant, independent properties of a single geon and its relations (such as its type, aspect ratio, relations to other geons), or b) a change in the connection weights by which several GFAs activate a cell representing an object.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-214
Number of pages24
JournalCanadian journal of psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Metric invariance in object recognition: a review and further evidence.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this