Representation is representation of similarities

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):449-467 (1998)
Intelligent systems are faced with the problem of securing a principled (ideally, veridical) relationship between the world and its internal representation. I propose a unified approach to visual representation, addressing both the needs of superordinate and basic-level categorization and of identification of specific instances of familiar categories. According to the proposed theory, a shape is represented by its similarity to a number of reference shapes, measured in a high-dimensional space of elementary features. This amounts to embedding the stimulus in a low-dimensional proximal shape space. That space turns out to support representation of distal shape similarities which is veridical in the sense of Shepard's (1968) notion of second-order isomorphism (i.e., correspondence between distal and proximal similarities among shapes, rather than between distal shapes and their proximal representations). Furthermore, a general expression for similarity between two stimuli, based on comparisons to reference shapes, can be used to derive models of perceived similarity ranging from continuous, symmetric, and hierarchical, as in the multidimensional scaling models (Shepard, 1980), to discrete and non-hierarchical, as in the general contrast models (Tversky, 1977; Shepard and Arabie, 1979)
Keywords affordance   categorization   constancy   distal/proximal stimulus   features   invariance   isomorphism   mental models   perception   representation   similarity   visual shape recognition
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0140525X98001253
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,037
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
O. Shagrir (2012). Structural Representations and the Brain. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):519-545.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

74 ( #60,750 of 1,934,364 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

17 ( #33,905 of 1,934,364 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.