Object Vision in a Structured World

Trends Cogn Sci. 2019 Aug;23(8):672-685. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2019.04.013. Epub 2019 May 27.


In natural vision, objects appear at typical locations, both with respect to visual space (e.g., an airplane in the upper part of a scene) and other objects (e.g., a lamp above a table). Recent studies have shown that object vision is strongly adapted to such positional regularities. In this review we synthesize these developments, highlighting that adaptations to positional regularities facilitate object detection and recognition, and sharpen the representations of objects in visual cortex. These effects are pervasive across various types of high-level content. We posit that adaptations to real-world structure collectively support optimal usage of limited cortical processing resources. Taking positional regularities into account will thus be essential for understanding efficient object vision in the real world.

Keywords: high-level vision; object perception; positional regularities; real-world structure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Visual Perception / physiology*