Advertisement

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1055–1063 | Cite as

Seeing what we know and understand: How knowledge shapes perception

  • Rasha Abdel RahmanEmail author
  • Werner Sommer
Brief Reports

Abstract

Expertise in object recognition, as in bird watching or X-ray specialization, is based on extensive perceptual experience and in-depth semantic knowledge. Although it has been shown that rich perceptual experience shapes elementary perception and higher level discrimination and identification, little is known about the influence of in-depth semantic knowledge on object perception and identification. By means of recording event-related brain potentials (ERPs), we show that the amount of knowledge acquired about initially unfamiliar objects modulates visual ERP components already 120 msec after object presentation, and causes gradual variations of activity in similar brain systems within a later timeframe commonly associated with meaning access. When perceptual analysis is made more difficult by blurring object pictures, knowledge has an even stronger effect on perceptual analysis and facilitates recognition. These findings demonstrate that in-depth knowledge not only affects involuntary semantic memory access, but also shapes perception by penetrating early visual processes traditionally held to be immune to such influences.

Keywords

Knowledge Condition Perceptual Analysis Global Field Power Knowledge Effect Unfamiliar Object 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bar, M., Kassam, K. S., Ghuman, A. S., Boshyan, J., Schmid, A. M., Dale, A. M., et al. (2006). Top-down facilitation of visual recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103, 449–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barsalou, L. W. (1999). Perceptual symbol systems. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 22, 577–660.Google Scholar
  3. Barsalou, L. W., Simmons, W. K., Barbey, A. K., & Wilson, C. D. (2003). Grounding conceptual knowledge in modality-specific systems. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 84–91.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Berg, P., & Scherg, M. (1991). Dipole modelling of eye activity and its application to the removal of eye artefacts from the EEG and MEG. Clinical Physiology & Physiological Measurements, 12, 49–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Di Russo, F., Martínez, A., Sereno, M. I., Pitzalis, S., & Hillyard, S. A. (2001). Cortical sources of the early components of the visual evoked potential. Human Brain Mapping, 15, 95–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gauthier, I., James, T. W., Curby, K. M., & Tarr, M. J. (2003). The influence of conceptual knowledge on visual discrimination. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 20, 507–523.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Gauthier, I., Skudlarski, P., Gore, J. C., & Anderson, A. W. (2000). Expertise for cars and birds recruits brain areas involved in face recognition. Nature Neuroscience, 3, 191–197.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Gauthier, I., Tarr, M. J., Anderson, A. W., Skudlarski, P., & Gore, J. C. (1999). Activation of the middle fusiform “face area” increases with expertise in recognizing novel objects. Nature Neuroscience, 2, 568–573.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Gauthier, I., Williams, P., Tarr, M. J., & Tanaka, J. W. (1998). Training “greeble” experts: A framework for studying expert object recognition processes. Vision Research, 38, 2401–2428.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldberg, R. F., Perfetti, C. A., & Schneider, W. (2006). Perceptual knowledge retrieval activates sensory brain regions. Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 4917–4921.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Grill-Spector, K., & Kanwisher, N. (2005). Visual recognition: As soon as you know it is there, you know what it is. Psychological Science, 16, 152–160.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Hillyard, S. A., & Anllo-Vento, L. (1998). Event-related brain potentials in the study of visual selective attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95, 781–787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hopfinger, J. B., Luck, S. J., & Hillyard, S. A. (2004). Selective attention: Electrophysiological and neuromagnetic studies. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences (3rd ed., pp. 561–574). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. James, T. W., & Gauthier, I. (2003). Auditory and action semantic features activate sensory-specific perceptual brain regions. Current Biology, 13, 1792–1796.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. James, T. W., & Gauthier, I. (2004). Brain areas engaged during visual judgments by involuntary access to novel semantic information. Vision Research, 44, 429–439.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Kiefer, M., Sim, E.-J., Liebich, S., Hauk, O., & Tanaka, J. (2007). Experience-dependent plasticity of conceptual representations in human sensory-motor areas. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 525–542.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Kutas, M., & Hillyard, S. A. (1980). Reading senseless sentences: Brain potentials reflect semantic incongruity. Science, 207, 203–205.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kutas, M., Van Petten, C. K., & Kluender, R. (2006). Psycholinguistics electrified II: 1994–2005. In M. A. Gernsbacher & M. Traxler (Eds.), Handbook of psycholinguistics (2nd ed., pp. 659–724). New York: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lehmann, D., & Skrandies, W. (1980). Reference-free identification of components of checkerboard-evoked multichannel potential fields. Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology, 48, 609–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Martin, A. (1998). The organization of semantic knowledge and the origin of words in the brain. In N. Jablonski & L. Aiello (Eds.), The origin and diversification of language (pp. 69–98). San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  21. Martin, A. (2007). The representation of object concepts in the brain. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 25–45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Meeren, H. K. M., van Heijnsbergen, C. C. R. J., & de Gelder, B. (2005). Rapid perceptual integration of facial expression and emotional body language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 16518–16523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pexman, P. M., Hargreaves, I. S., Edwards, J. D., Henry, L. C., & Goodyear, B. G. (2007). The neural consequences of semantic richness: When more comes to mind, less activation is observed. Psychological Science, 18, 401–406.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Talairach, J., & Tournoux, P. (1988). Co-planar stereotaxic atlas of the human brain. New York: Thieme.Google Scholar
  25. Tanaka, J. W., & Curran, T. A. (2001). A neural basis for expert object recognition. Psychological Science, 12, 43–47.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Tanaka, J. W., Curran, T. A., & Sheinberg, D. L. (2005). The training and transfer of real-world perceptual expertise. Psychological Science, 16, 145–151.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Thorpe, S., Fize, D., & Marlot, C. (1996). Speed of processing in the human visual system. Nature, 381, 520–522.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. von Müller, F. T. A. H. (1982). Unterhaltungen mit Goethe [Conversations with Goethe]. Munich: Beck.Google Scholar
  29. Weisberg, J., van Turennout, M., & Martin, A. (2007). A neural system for learning about object function. Cerebral Cortex, 17, 513–521.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations