The role of context in object recognition

Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Dec;11(12):520-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2007.09.009. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


In the real world, objects never occur in isolation; they co-vary with other objects and particular environments, providing a rich source of contextual associations to be exploited by the visual system. A natural way of representing the context of an object is in terms of its relationship to other objects. Alternately, recent work has shown that a statistical summary of the scene provides a complementary and effective source of information for contextual inference, which enables humans to quickly guide their attention and eyes to regions of interest in natural scenes. A better understanding of how humans build such scene representations, and of the mechanisms of contextual analysis, will lead to a new generation of computer vision systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Recognition, Psychology