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Interactions of visual attention and object recognition : computational modeling, algorithms, and psychophysics

Citation

Walther, Dirk (2006) Interactions of visual attention and object recognition : computational modeling, algorithms, and psychophysics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-03072006-135433

Abstract

Selective visual attention provides an effective mechanism to serialize perception of complex scenes in both biological and machine vision systems. In extension of previous models of saliency-based visual attention by Koch and Ullman (Human Neurobiology, 4:219-227, 1985) and Itti et al. (IEEE PAMI, 20(11):1254-1259, 1998), we have developed a new model of bottom-up salient region selection, which estimates the approximate extent of attended proto-objects in a biologically realistic manner. Based on our model, we simulate the deployment of spatial attention in a biologically realistic model of object recognition in the cortex and find, in agreement with electrophysiology in macaque monkeys, that modulation of neural activity by as little as 20 % suffices to enable successive detection of multiple objects. We further show successful applications of the selective attention system to machine vision problems. We show that attentional grouping based on bottom-up processes enables successive learning and recognition of multiple objects in cluttered natural scenes. We also demonstrate that pre-selection of potential targets decreases the complexity of multiple target tracking in an application to detection and tracking of low-contrast marine animals in underwater video data. A given task will affect visual perception through top-down attention processes. Frequently, a task implies attention to particular objects or object categories. Finding suitable features can be interpreted as an inversion of object detection. Where object detection entails mapping from a set of sufficiently complex features to an abstract object representation, finding features for top-down attention requires the reverse of this mapping. We demonstrate a computer simulation of this mechanism with the example of top-down attention to faces. Deploying top-down attention to the visual hierarchy comes at a cost in reaction time in fast detection tasks. We use a task switching paradigm to compare task switches that do with those that do not require re-deployment of top-down attention and find a cost of 20-28 ms in reaction time for shifting attention from one stimulus attribute (image content) to another (color of frame).

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:computational modeling; computer vision; multi-target tracking; object recognition; visual attention
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computation and Neural Systems
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Koch, Christof
Thesis Committee:
  • Koch, Christof (chair)
  • Psaltis, Demetri
  • Itti, Laurent
  • Perona, Pietro
  • Andersen, Richard A.
  • Shimojo, Shinsuke
Defense Date:23 February 2006
Author Email:dirk.walther (AT) gmail.com
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03072006-135433
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-03072006-135433
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:895
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:09 Mar 2006
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 02:33

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