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Mechanisms of object recognition: what we have learned from pigeons.

Soto FA, Wasserman EA - Front Neural Circuits (2014)

Bottom Line: The outcome is that pigeons are likely to be the non-primate species for which the computational mechanisms of object recognition are best understood.The fact that we have a good idea of which aspects of object recognition differ in people and pigeons should be seen as an advantage over other animal models.From this perspective, we suggest that there is much to learn about human object recognition from studying the "simple" brains of pigeons.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Behavioral studies of object recognition in pigeons have been conducted for 50 years, yielding a large body of data. Recent work has been directed toward synthesizing this evidence and understanding the visual, associative, and cognitive mechanisms that are involved. The outcome is that pigeons are likely to be the non-primate species for which the computational mechanisms of object recognition are best understood. Here, we review this research and suggest that a core set of mechanisms for object recognition might be present in all vertebrates, including pigeons and people, making pigeons an excellent candidate model to study the neural mechanisms of object recognition. Behavioral and computational evidence suggests that error-driven learning participates in object category learning by pigeons and people, and recent neuroscientific research suggests that the basal ganglia, which are homologous in these species, may implement error-driven learning of stimulus-response associations. Furthermore, learning of abstract category representations can be observed in pigeons and other vertebrates. Finally, there is evidence that feedforward visual processing, a central mechanism in models of object recognition in the primate ventral stream, plays a role in object recognition by pigeons. We also highlight differences between pigeons and people in object recognition abilities, and propose candidate adaptive specializations which may explain them, such as holistic face processing and rule-based category learning in primates. From a modern comparative perspective, such specializations are to be expected regardless of the model species under study. The fact that we have a good idea of which aspects of object recognition differ in people and pigeons should be seen as an advantage over other animal models. From this perspective, we suggest that there is much to learn about human object recognition from studying the "simple" brains of pigeons.

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Diagram summarizing our current working hypothesis regarding the computational mechanisms involved in object recognition across vertebrates. The outer portion of the diagram consists of a phylogenetic tree, with leafs representing the most commonly studied genera in comparative cognition. The concentric circles at the center represent different hypothesized computational mechanisms. If a line is drawn from a particular leaf to the center of the diagram, then the colors intersected by the line represent those mechanisms hypothesized to be present in that particular genus.
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Figure 11: Diagram summarizing our current working hypothesis regarding the computational mechanisms involved in object recognition across vertebrates. The outer portion of the diagram consists of a phylogenetic tree, with leafs representing the most commonly studied genera in comparative cognition. The concentric circles at the center represent different hypothesized computational mechanisms. If a line is drawn from a particular leaf to the center of the diagram, then the colors intersected by the line represent those mechanisms hypothesized to be present in that particular genus.

Mentions: Figure 11 represents our current working hypothesis regarding the evolution of mechanisms of object recognition in birds and mammals. This diagram is a useful way to summarize what is known about the evolution of a complex form of behavior in a large group of animals. The outer part of the diagram consists of a phylogenetic tree, which provides information about the evolutionary relations among species that are being compared. The leaves in this tree include the genera that are most commonly studied in comparative cognition. There is no information about the object recognition abilities of most of these genera; so, they are included simply as a reference. The genera that have been studied to some extent are highlighted: homo (i.e., humans), macaca (macaques) and columba (i.e., pigeons). Rattus (rats) is also highlighted, as recent studies have started to shed light on their object recognition skills (e.g., Zoccolan et al., 2009; Brooks et al., 2013).


Mechanisms of object recognition: what we have learned from pigeons.

Soto FA, Wasserman EA - Front Neural Circuits (2014)

Diagram summarizing our current working hypothesis regarding the computational mechanisms involved in object recognition across vertebrates. The outer portion of the diagram consists of a phylogenetic tree, with leafs representing the most commonly studied genera in comparative cognition. The concentric circles at the center represent different hypothesized computational mechanisms. If a line is drawn from a particular leaf to the center of the diagram, then the colors intersected by the line represent those mechanisms hypothesized to be present in that particular genus.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4195317&req=5

Figure 11: Diagram summarizing our current working hypothesis regarding the computational mechanisms involved in object recognition across vertebrates. The outer portion of the diagram consists of a phylogenetic tree, with leafs representing the most commonly studied genera in comparative cognition. The concentric circles at the center represent different hypothesized computational mechanisms. If a line is drawn from a particular leaf to the center of the diagram, then the colors intersected by the line represent those mechanisms hypothesized to be present in that particular genus.
Mentions: Figure 11 represents our current working hypothesis regarding the evolution of mechanisms of object recognition in birds and mammals. This diagram is a useful way to summarize what is known about the evolution of a complex form of behavior in a large group of animals. The outer part of the diagram consists of a phylogenetic tree, which provides information about the evolutionary relations among species that are being compared. The leaves in this tree include the genera that are most commonly studied in comparative cognition. There is no information about the object recognition abilities of most of these genera; so, they are included simply as a reference. The genera that have been studied to some extent are highlighted: homo (i.e., humans), macaca (macaques) and columba (i.e., pigeons). Rattus (rats) is also highlighted, as recent studies have started to shed light on their object recognition skills (e.g., Zoccolan et al., 2009; Brooks et al., 2013).

Bottom Line: The outcome is that pigeons are likely to be the non-primate species for which the computational mechanisms of object recognition are best understood.The fact that we have a good idea of which aspects of object recognition differ in people and pigeons should be seen as an advantage over other animal models.From this perspective, we suggest that there is much to learn about human object recognition from studying the "simple" brains of pigeons.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Behavioral studies of object recognition in pigeons have been conducted for 50 years, yielding a large body of data. Recent work has been directed toward synthesizing this evidence and understanding the visual, associative, and cognitive mechanisms that are involved. The outcome is that pigeons are likely to be the non-primate species for which the computational mechanisms of object recognition are best understood. Here, we review this research and suggest that a core set of mechanisms for object recognition might be present in all vertebrates, including pigeons and people, making pigeons an excellent candidate model to study the neural mechanisms of object recognition. Behavioral and computational evidence suggests that error-driven learning participates in object category learning by pigeons and people, and recent neuroscientific research suggests that the basal ganglia, which are homologous in these species, may implement error-driven learning of stimulus-response associations. Furthermore, learning of abstract category representations can be observed in pigeons and other vertebrates. Finally, there is evidence that feedforward visual processing, a central mechanism in models of object recognition in the primate ventral stream, plays a role in object recognition by pigeons. We also highlight differences between pigeons and people in object recognition abilities, and propose candidate adaptive specializations which may explain them, such as holistic face processing and rule-based category learning in primates. From a modern comparative perspective, such specializations are to be expected regardless of the model species under study. The fact that we have a good idea of which aspects of object recognition differ in people and pigeons should be seen as an advantage over other animal models. From this perspective, we suggest that there is much to learn about human object recognition from studying the "simple" brains of pigeons.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus