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Book Chapter

Categorization and Object Shape


Graf,  M
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Graf, M. (2010). Categorization and Object Shape. In Towards a theory of thinking: building blocks for a conceptual framework (pp. 73-101). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Cite as:
Categorization is essential for perception and provides an important foundation for higher cognitive functions. In this review, I focus on perceptual aspects of categorization, especially related to object shape. In order to visually categorize an object, the visual system has to solve two basic problems. The first one is how to recognize objects after spatial transformations like rotations and size-scalings. The second problem is how to categorize objects with different shapes as members of the same category. I review the literature related to these two problems against the background of the hierarchy of transformation groups specified in Felix Klein’s Erlanger Programm. The Erlanger Programm provides a general framework for the understanding of object shape, and may allow integrating object recognition and categorization literatures.