Pattern recognition (psychology)
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In psychology and cognitive neuroscience, pattern recognition describes a cognitive process that matches information from a stimulus with information retrieved from memory. Among others, the recognized patterns can be those perceived in facial features, units of music, components of language or characters and other symbols. One theory understands patterns as a set of characteristic features extracted from the stimulus, but it does not comprehensively describe the process or the role of context and there is a multitude of other theories with different approaches.[a] Pattern recognition does not occur instantly, although it does happen automatically and spontaneously. Pattern recognition is an innate ability of animals.
Theories of pattern recognition
- Template matching
- Prototype matching
- Feature analysis
- Recognition by components
- Fourier analysis
- Bottom-up and top-down processing
The incoming sensory information is compared directly to copies (templates) stored in the long term memory. These copies are stored in the process of our past experiences and learning.
E.g. A A A are all recognized as the letter A but not B.
Note: This does not allow for variation in letters unless there are templates for each variation.
Prototype means a concept of average characteristics of a particular subject. It can be found throughout the world. For instance a concept of small animal with feathers, beak, two wings that can fly is a prototype concept of a crow, sparrow, hen, eagle, etc. Prototype matching, unlike template matching, does not emphasize a perfect match between the incoming stimuli and the stored concept in the brain.
According to this theory, the sensory system breaks down the incoming stimuli into its features and processes the information. Some features may be more important for recognition than others. All stimuli have a set of distinctive features. Feature analysis proceeds through 4 stages.
- Pattern dissection
- Feature comparison in memory
Multiple discrimination scaling
Template and feature analysis approaches to recognition of objects (and situations) have been merged / reconciled / overtaken by multiple discrimination theory. This states that the amounts in a test stimulus of each salient feature of a template are recognized in any perceptual judgment as being at a distance in the universal unit of 50% discrimination (the objective performance 'JND': Torgerson, 1958) from the amount of that feature in the template (Booth & Freeman, 1993, Acta Psychologica).
False pattern recognition
The human tendency to see patterns that do not actually exist is called apophenia. Examples of apophenia include the Man in the Moon, faces or figures in shadows, clouds and in patterns with no deliberate design, such as the swirls on a baked confection, and the perception of causal relationships between events which are, in fact, unrelated. Apophenia figures prominently in conspiracy theories, gambling, misinterpretation of statistics and scientific data, and some kinds of religious and paranormal experiences. Misperception of patterns in random data is called pareidolia.
- Chambon, Valérian et al. (2007). "Visual Pattern Recognition: What Makes Faces so Special?". In Corrigan, Marsha S. Pattern Recognition in Biology. New York: Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 9781600217166. OCLC 123962949. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Eysenck, Michael W.; Keane, Mark T. (2003). Cognitive Psychology: A Student's Handbook (4th ed.). Hove; Philadelphia; New York: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780863775512. OCLC 894210185. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Krumhansl, Carol L. (1990). Cognitive Foundations of Musical Pitch. Oxford Psychology Series No. 17 (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press (published 2001). ISBN 9780198022152. ISSN 1362-9972. OCLC 62386986. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Margolis, Howard (1987). Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition: A Theory of Judgement (3rd ed.). Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press (published 1996). ISBN 9780226505282. OCLC 15792013. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
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