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Parallel processing in high-level categorization of natural images

Abstract

Models of visual processing often include an initial parallel stage that is restricted to relatively low-level features, whereas activation of higher-level object descriptions is generally assumed to require attention1,2,3,4. Here we report that even high-level object representations can be accessed in parallel: in a rapid animal versus non-animal categorization task, both behavioral and electrophysiological data show that human subjects were as fast at responding to two simultaneously presented natural images as they were to a single one. The implication is that even complex natural images can be processed in parallel without the need for sequential focal attention.

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Figure 1: Behavioral results.
Figure 2: Grand average ERPs and associated differential activities.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Cognitique program (COG35 and 35b). Financial support was provided to G.A.R. by a PhD grant from the French Government.

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Correspondence to Guillaume A. Rousselet.

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Rousselet, G., Fabre-Thorpe, M. & Thorpe, S. Parallel processing in high-level categorization of natural images. Nat Neurosci 5, 629–630 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn866

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