Prior experience of rotation is not required for recognizing objects seen from different angles


An object viewed from different angles can be recognized and distinguished from similar distractors after the viewer has had experience watching it rotate. It has been assumed that as an observer watches the rotation, separate representations of individual views become associated with one another. However, we show here that once monkeys learned to discriminate individual views of objects, they were able to recognize objects across rotations up to 60°, even though there had been no opportunity to learn the association between different views. Our results suggest that object recognition across small or medium changes in viewing angle depends on features common to similar views of objects.

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Figure 1: Formation of object sets and example sets of stimulus images.
Figure 2: The time sequence of events in the task.
Figure 3: Performance of monkeys immediately after the introduction of new stimulus sets into the object task, without prior experience of individual images.
Figure 4: Performance when new stimulus sets were introduced into the object task after each monkey had discriminated the images from one another at each viewing angle in the preparatory task.
Figure 5: Performance of monkeys in cross-design tests.
Figure 6: Similarity between images for within-object and across-object pairs.
Figure 7: Control experiments with pseudo combinations of object views.
Figure 8: Performance on the first appearance of each pair of object views.

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This research was partly supported by the collaborative research grant of RIKEN Brain Science Institute and the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas (17022047) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

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Correspondence to Keiji Tanaka.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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