Early Salient Region Selection Does Not Drive Rapid Visual Categorization

by   John K. Tsotsos, et al.

The current dominant visual processing paradigm in both human and machine research is the feedforward, layered hierarchy of neural-like processing elements. Within this paradigm, visual saliency is seen by many to have a specific role, namely that of early selection. Early selection is thought to enable very fast visual performance by limiting processing to only the most relevant candidate portions of an image. Though this strategy has indeed led to improved processing time efficiency in machine algorithms, at least one set of critical tests of this idea has never been performed with respect to the role of early selection in human vision. How would the best of the current saliency models perform on the stimuli used by experimentalists who first provided evidence for this visual processing paradigm? Would the algorithms really provide correct candidate sub-images to enable fast categorization on those same images? Here, we report on a new series of tests of these questions whose results suggest that it is quite unlikely that such an early selection process has any role in human rapid visual categorization.


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