Visual categorization and object representation in monkeys and humans

J Cogn Neurosci. 2002 Feb 15;14(2):187-98. doi: 10.1162/089892902317236830.


We investigated the influence of a categorization task on the extraction and representation of perceptual features in humans and monkeys. The use of parameterized stimuli (schematic faces and fish) with fixed diagnostic features in combination with a similarity-rating task allowed us to demonstrate perceptual sensitization to the diagnostic dimensions of the categorization task for the monkeys. Moreover, our results reveal important similarities between human and monkey visual subordinate categorization strategies. Neither the humans nor the monkeys compared the new stimuli to class prototypes or based their decisions on conditional probabilities along stimulus dimensions. Instead, they classified each object according to its similarity to familiar members of the alternative categories, or with respect to its position to a linear boundary between the learned categories.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychophysics