Less than meets the eye: the diagnostic information for visual categorization

Zhan, Jiayu (2019) Less than meets the eye: the diagnostic information for visual categorization. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Current theories of visual categorization are cast in terms of information processing mechanisms that use mental representations. However, the actual information contents of these representations are rarely characterized, which in turn hinders knowledge of mechanisms that use them. In this thesis, I identified these contents by extracting the information that supports behavior under given tasks - i.e., the task-specific diagnostic information.

In the first study (Chapter 2), I modelled the diagnostic face information for familiar face identification, using a unique generative model of face identity information combined with perceptual judgments and reverse correlation. I then demonstrated the validity of this information using everyday perceptual tasks that generalize face identity and resemblance judgments to new viewpoints, age, and sex with a new group of participants. My results showed that human participants represent only a proportion of the objective identity information available, but what they do represent is both sufficiently detailed and versatile to generalize face identification across diverse tasks successfully.

In the second study (Chapter 3), I modelled the diagnostic facial movement for facial expressions of emotion recognition. I used the models that characterize the mental representations of six facial expressions of emotion (Happy, Surprise, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sad) in individual observers. I validated them on a new group of participants. With the validated models, I derived main signal variants for each emotion and their probabilities of occurrence within each emotion. Using these variants and their probability, I trained a Bayesian classifier and showed that the Bayesian classifier mimics human observers’ categorization performance closely. My results demonstrated that such emotion variants and their probabilities of occurrence comprise observers’ mental representations of facial expressions of emotion.

In the third study (Chapter 4), I investigated how the brain reduces high dimensional visual input into low dimensional diagnostic representations to support a scene categorization. To do so, I used an information theoretic framework called Contentful Brain and Behavior Imaging (CBBI) to tease apart stimulus information that supports behavior (i.e., diagnostic) from that which does not (i.e., nondiagnostic). I then tracked the dynamic representations of both in magneto-encephalographic (MEG) activity. Using CBBI, I demonstrated a rapid (~170 ms) reduction of nondiagnostic information occurs in the occipital cortex and the progression of diagnostic information into right fusiform gyrus where they are constructed to support distinct behaviors. My results highlight how CBBI can be used to investigate the information processing from brain activity by considering interactions between three variables (stimulus information, brain activity, behavior), rather than just two, as is the current norm in neuroimaging studies.

I discussed the task-specific diagnostic information as individuals’ dynamic and experienced-based representation about the physical world, which provides us the much-needed information to search and understand the black box of high-dimensional, deep and biological brain networks. I also discussed the practical concerns about using the data-driven approach to uncover diagnostic information.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from the China Scholarship Council.
Keywords: Visual categorization, diagnostic information.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Funder's Name: China Scholarship Council
Supervisor's Name: Schyns, Prof. Philippe
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Dr. Jiayu Zhan
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-71943
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2019 11:53
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2024 14:01
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.71943
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71943

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