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A TOPOLOGICAL/ECOLOGICAL APPROACH TO PERCEPTION

By James F. Peters, Arturo Tozzi, Sheela Ramanna

Posted 11 Nov 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/086827

During the exploration of the surrounding environment, the brain links together external inputs, giving rise to perception of a persisting object. During imaginative processes, the same object can be recalled in mind even if it is out of sight. In this proof of concept study, Borsuk's theory of shape and the Borsuk-Ulam theorem provide a mathematical foundation for Gibson's notion of persistence perception. Gibson's ecological theory of perception accounts for our knowledge of world objects by borrowing a concept of invariance in topology. A series of transformations can be gradually applied to a pattern, in particular to the shape of an object, without affecting its invariant properties, such as boundedness of parts of a visual scene. High-level representations of objects in our environment are mapped to simplified views (our interpretations) of the objects, in order to construct a symbolic representation of the environment. The representations can be projected continuously to an ecological object that we have seen and continue to see, thanks to the mapping from shapes in our memory to shapes in Euclidean space.

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