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Frontiers in Perception Science

Frontiers in Perception Science

2011. Special Issue on “The timing of visual recognition”

Edited by Rufin VanRullen and Gabriel Kreiman

In a small fraction of a second, we can recognize objects in complex scenes in spite of significant transformations in the objects themselves and other parts of the image. Achieving a high degree of selectivity, tolerance and speed in visual recognition remains a challenging problem for engineering and computational approaches to vision. The dynamics of visual recognition has played a significant role in shaping and constraining theoretical and experimental approaches to studying visual recognition. Converging evidence from neurophysiological recordings, scalp electroencephalography and psychophysics suggests that a lot of the magic in recognition happens in the initial “glimpse” during the first 100-200 ms after presentation of or saccade to a complex scene. This has prompted many authors to propose that the initial aspects of visual recognition depend on a largely feed-forward processing mode. At the same time, at the anatomical level, we know that there are massive back-projections throughout visual cortex which might also play a critical role in the recognition process. Understanding the circuits and computations involved in rapid visual recognition represents a central model towards quantitatively characterizing the function of neocortex. The Research Topic will bring together the leading scientists that have contributed to this field over the last 20 years, to create a collection that will serve as a reference for future generations of students and researchers.