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Visual Categorization: Physiological Mechanisms

Visual categorization refers to the ability to group stimuli according their behavioral significance or meaning. Stimuli from the same category are treated as “similar,” though they may differ greatly from one another in their physical features (e.g., a “giraffe” and “lizard” are both of the category “animal”). Likewise, stimuli in different categories may be physically similar, though they are treated as “different” (e.g., a “green apple” and “green tennis ball” are in different categories). Humans and other advanced animals have a remarkable capacity to learn and recognize visual categories, and this ability forms the foundation of complex behavior. Without the ability to learn and recognize the behavioral significance of stimuli, we would be unable to successfully interact with and adapt to the ever-changing world ...

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