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Learned prediction affects body perception

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Learning to recognize objects appears to depend critically on extended observation of appearance over time. Specifically, temporal association between dissimilar views of an object has been proposed as a tool for learning invariant representations for recognition. We examined heretofore untested aspects of the temporal association hypothesis using a familiar dynamic object, the human body. Specifically, we examined the role of appearance prediction (temporal asymmetry) in temporal association. In our task, observers performed a change detection task using upright and inverted images of a walking body either with or without previous exposure to a motion stimulus depicting an upright walker. Observers who were exposed to the dynamic stimulus were further divided into two groups dependent on whether the observed motion depicted forward or backward walking. We find that the effect of the motion stimulus on sensitivity is highly dependent on whether the observed motion is consistent with past experience.
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Keywords: Learning; Object motion; Object recognition; Prediction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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