Experiencing and learning the from the Illumination Environment

6 February 2015, 4.00 PM - 6 February 2015, 5.00 PM

Professor Julie Harris, University St Andrews

2D1, Social Sciences Complex, 12A Priory Rd, Bristol

To infer the shape and material properties of objects, the visual system must take into account the relationship between the object, the illumination and the environment in which the object is located (dubbed "the light field"). Here we explored the importance of actively learning this environment before engaging in shape or material tasks. Throughout our work we used rendered scenes containing depicted objects with realistic illumination gradients. We explored two different paradigms. One where the object moved through a number of shape configurations before shape perception was tested.  The other paradigm involved observers actively moving objects within a light field before material judgments were made.

Our results showed that observers are able to use illumination gradients to make consistent shape judgments, if they are given a short learning period, where they experience the object moving through all shape configurations.  In the material study, we found that material constancy could best be achieved when observers experienced the light field during a systematic, yet very short, learning period. In sum, our work suggests the importance of active learning of the environment in the interpretation of material properties and shape via illumination gradient cues.

Contact information

Find out more about the work of Prof Julie Harris   http://julieharrislab.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/julie-harris/

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