“In search of a general expertise marker for expert object recognition”

  • 2 maio 2019

  • 11:00 — 13:00

  • Anfiteatro 1 — Faculdade de Psicologia da ULisboa
    Onde fica?

Alan Wong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Humans are experts in object recognition. Radiologists notice abnormality on medical images within a second. Birders catch a glimpse of something yellow and readily identify a bird species. And the majority of us recognize a face fast and read sequences of words fluently. These expert visual skills involve objects that are very different in shape, size, colour, and specific task demand. Despite these differences, is there any general marker underlying expert object recognition across domains? Holistic processing (HP) is an interesting candidate. HP generally refers to the perceptual tendency to process objects as wholes rather than as separate parts, and has been regarded as a characteristic unique to face recognition. In this talk, I will review the work by my lab and others showing that HP can be generally observed in experts of numerous non-face categories. For example, HP has been observed in expert word recognition in both alphabetic and non-alphabetic writing systems. Similar to HP for faces, HP for words is associated with one’s experience, has a neural correlate corresponding to early visual processing, and predicts recognition performance across individuals. Interestingly, a closer look into the empirical evidence shows differences in the specifics of HP for the two domains. In particular, the HP for faces and for words are driven by different task demands and involved different visual and non-visual factors. Overall, HP may be a general expertise marker, but its manifestations depend on the specific constraints for different domains.