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Profile: Zenon Pylyshyn (Rutgers University)
  1. Zenon Pylyshyn, Tracking Multiple Independent Targets: Evidence for a Parallel Tracking Mechanism.
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  2. Zenon Pylyshyn, Franconeri, Lin, Fisher & Enns, Evidence Against a Speed Limit in Multiple Object Tracking.
    in press, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
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  3. Z. W. Pylyshyn, Dynamics of Target Selection in Multiple Object Tracking (MOT).
    ��In four experiments we address the question whether several visual objects can be selected voluntarily (exogenously) and then tracked in a Multiple Object Tracking paradigm and, if so, whether the selection involves a different process. Experiment 1 showed that items can indeed be selected based on their labels. Experiment 2 showed that to select the complement set to a set that is automatically (exogenously) selected — e.g. to select all objects not flashed — observers require additional time and that given (...)
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  4. Z. W. Pylyshyn, Massachusetts Institute of Techno/Ogy.
    Establishment holds that thc psychological mechanism of inference is the ment psychological thcorizing. Moreover, given this conciliatory reading, transformation of mental representations, it follows that perception is in..
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  5. Zenon Pylyshyn, Is Visioncontinuouswithcognition?
    This article defends the claim that a significant part of visual perception (called “early vision”) is impervious to the influence of beliefs, expectations or knowledge. We examine a wide range of empirical evidence that has been cited in support of the continuity of vision and cognition and argue that the evidence either shows within- vision top-down effects, or else the extra-visual effects that are demonstrated occur before the operation of the autonomous early vision system (through the allocation of focal attention) (...)
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  6. Zenon Pylyshyn, Perception, Representation and the World: The FINST That Binds.
    I recently discovered that work I was doing in the laboratory and in theoretical writings was implicitly taking a position on a set of questions that philosophers had been worrying about for much of the past 30 or more years. My clandestine involvement in philosophical issues began when a computer science colleague and I were trying to build a model of geometrical reasoning that would draw a diagram and notice things in the diagram as it drew it (Pylyshyn, Elcock, Marmor, (...)
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  7. Zenon Pylyshyn, Se E I N G a N D V I S U a L I Z I N G : I T ' S N O T W H a T y O U T H I N K.
    6. Seeing With the Minds Eye 1: The Puzzle of Mental Imagery 6.1 What is the puzzle about mental imagery? 6.2 Content, form and substance (...)
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  8. Zenon Pylyshyn, S Eeingand Visualizing: I T' S N Otwhaty Ou T Hink.
    6. Seeing With the Mind’s Eye 1: The Puzzle of Mental Imagery .................................................6-1 6.1 What is the puzzle about mental imagery?..............................................................................6-1 6.2 Content, form and substance of representations ......................................................................6-6 6.3 What is responsible for the pattern of results obtained in imagery studies?.................................6-8..
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  9. Zenon Pylyshyn, The Empirical Case for Bare Demonstratives in Vision.
    1. Background: Representation in language and vision ................................................ 1 2. Some parallels between the study of vision and language......................................... 3..
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  10. Zenon Pylyshyn, The Role of Visual Indexes in Spatial Vision and Imagery∗∗.
    This paper describes a programmatic theory of a process in early vision called indexing. The theory hypothesizes that a small number of primitive indexes are available for individuating, tracking and providing direct access to salient visual objects. We discuss some empirical and theoretical arguments in favor of the proposed index as a resource-limited link between an internal visual representation and objects in the visual world. We argue that this link is needed to explain a large range of properties of vision, (...)
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  11. Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Computers and the Symbolization of Knowledge.
    I’m one of those who is awed and impressed by the potential of this field and have devoted some part of my energy to persuading people that it is a positive force. I have done so largely on the grounds of its economic benefits and it potential for making the fruits of computer technology more generally available to the public — for example, to help the overworked physician; to search for oil and minerals and help manage our valuable resources; to (...)
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  12. Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Charles E. King & James E. Reilly, Selective Nontarget Inhibition in Multiple Object Tracking (MOT).
    We previously reported that in the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task, which requires tracking several identical targets moving unpredictably among identical nontargets, the nontargets appear to be inhibited, as measured by a probe-dot detection method. The inhibition appears to be local to nontargets and does not extend to the space between objects – dropping off very rapidly away from targets and nontargets. In the present three experiments we show that (1) nontargets that are identical to targets but remain in a (...)
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  13. Brian J. Scholl & Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Tracking Multiple Items Through Occlusion: Clues to Visual Objecthood.
    In three experiments, subjects attempted to track multiple items as they moved independently and unpredictably about a display. Performance was not impaired when the items were briefly (but completely) occluded at various times during their motion, suggesting that occlusion is taken into account when computing enduring perceptual objecthood. Unimpaired performance required the presence of accretion and deletion cues along fixed contours at the occluding boundaries. Performance was impaired when items were present on the visual field at the same times and (...)
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  14. Zenon Pylyshyn, Can Indexes Be Voluntarily Assigned in Multiple Object Tracking?
    In Multiple Object Tracking (MOT), an observer is able to track 4 – 5 objects in a group of otherwise indistinguishable objects that move independently and unpredictably about a display. According to the Visual Indexing Theory (Pylyshyn, 1989), successful tracking requires that target objects be indexed while they are distinct -- before tracking begins. In the typical MOT task, the target objects are briefly flashed resulting in the automatic assignment of indexes. The question arises whether indexes are only assigned automatically (...)
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  15. Zenon Pylyshyn, Further Evidence for Inhibition of Moving Nontargets in Multiple Object Tracking.
    Using the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task, Pylyshyn & Leonard (VSS03) showed that a small brief probe dot was detected more poorly when it occurred on a nontarget than when it occurred either on a target or in the space between items, suggesting that moving nontarget items were inhibited. Here we generalize this finding by comparing probe detection performance against a baseline condition in which no tracking was required. We examined both a baseline condition in which objects did not move (...)
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  16. Zenon Pylyshyn, Some Puzzling Findings in Multiple Object Tracking: I. Tracking Without Keeping Track of Object Identities.
    The task of tracking a small number (about four or five) visual targets within a larger set of identical items, each of which moves randomly and independently, has been used extensively to study object-based attention. Analysis of this multiple object tracking (MOT) task shows that it logically entails solving the correspondence problem for each target over time, and thus that the individuality of each of the targets must be tracked. This suggests that when successfully tracking objects, observers must also keep (...)
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  17. Zenon Pylyshyn, Some Puzzling Findings in Multiple Object Tracking (MOT): II. Inhibition of Moving Nontargets.
    We present three studies examining whether multiple-object tracking (MOT) benefits from the active inhibition of nontargets, as proposed in (Pylyshyn, 2004). Using a probedot technique, the first study showed poorer probe detection on nontargets than on either the targets being tracked or in the empty space between objects. The second study used a matching nontracking task to control for possible masking of probes, independent of target tracking. The third study examined how localized the inhibition is to individual nontargets. The result (...)
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  18. Zenon Pylyshyn, Telelearning and Teleconferencing.
    A major cognitive framework for individuating, visualizing, and keeping track of different items of knowledge (such as who said what in a conference or what items of data go with what) is the use of real 3D spatial locations. We use space both literally (as in the desktop or office model of data organization) and also figuratively. Examples of the latter includes such techniques as mentally locating different facts and premises in certain imagined spatial loci -- a technique widely used (...)
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  19. Zenon Pylyshyn, The Medium of Thought: Do We Think in Pictures, Words, Concepts, or What?
    People have always wondered how thinking takes place and what thoughts are constructed from. We typically experience our thoughts as involving pictorial (or sensory) contents or as being in words. Although this idea has been enshrined in psychology as the “dual code” theory of reasoning and memory, serious questions have been raised concerning this view. It appears that whatever the form of our thoughts it is unlikely that it is anything like our experience of them. But if thought is not (...)
     
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  20. Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Spring and Fall Fashions in Cognitive Science.
    This is indeed an auspicious time for Cognitive Science. I stand here before you this evening as the first Chair to give a presidential address to this austere body, to place on record before you what you are to accept as the Society's official view on the new science of the mind.
     
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  21. Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Visual Indexes and Nonconceptual Reference.
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  22. Harry Haladjian, Manish Singh, Zenon Pylyshyn & Randy Gallistel (2010). The Encoding of Spatial Information During Small-Set Enumeration. In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society.
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  23. Jonathan I. Flombaum, Brian J. Scholl & Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2008). Attentional Resources in Visual Tracking Through Occlusion: The High-Beams Effect. Cognition 107 (3):904-931.
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  24. Marc Hauser & Zenon Pylyshyn, Marshall M. Weinberg Conference: The Future of Cognitive Science - Friday Morning (Oct. 17, 2008) Session: Marc Hauser and Zenon Pylyshyn. [REVIEW]
    Six leading experts speak about the future of cognitive science.
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  25. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2007). Things and Places: How the Mind Connects with the World. The Mit Press.
    In "Things and Places," Zenon Pylyshyn argues that the process of incrementally constructing perceptual representations, solving the binding problem (determining which properties go together), and, more generally, grounding perceptual ...
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  26. Zenon Pylyshyn (2004). Imagery. In R. L. Gregory (ed.), Oxford Companion to the Mind. Oxford University Press.
    In Gregory, Richard. Oxford Companion to the Mind (Second Edition, 2006) Oxford University Press.
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  27. Zenon Pylyshyn (2004). The Illusion of Explanation: The Experience of Volition, Mental Effort, and Mental Imagery. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):672-673.
    This commentary argues that the “illusion” to which Wegner refers in The Illusion of Conscious Will is actually the illusion that our conscious experience of mentally causing certain behaviors explains the behavior in question: It is not the subjective experience itself that is illusory, but the implied causal explanation. The experience of “mental effort” is cited as another example of this sort of illusion. Another significant example is the experience that properties of the representation of our mental images are responsible (...)
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  28. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2004). From Reifying Mental Pictures to Reifying Spatial Models. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):590-591.
    Assuming that the vehicle of imaginal thought is a spatial model may not be quite as egregious an error as assuming it is a two-dimensional picture, but it represents no less a reification error. Because the model is not a literal physical layout, one is still owed an explanation of why spatial properties hold in the model – whether because of architectural constraints or by stipulation. The difference is like the difference between explaining behavior from a principle and predicting it (...)
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  29. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2003). Explaining Mental Imagery: Now You See It, Now You Don't. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (3):111-112.
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  30. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2003). Explaining Mental Imagery: Now You See It, Now You Don't: Reply to Kosslyn Et Al. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (3):111-112.
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  31. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2003). Return of the Mental Image: Are There Really Pictures in the Brain? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (3):113-118.
    In the past decade there has been renewed interest in the study of mental imagery. Emboldened by new findings from neuroscience, many people have revived the idea that mental imagery involves a special format of thought, one that is pictorial in nature. But the evidence and the arguments that exposed deep conceptual and empirical problems in the picture theory over the past 300 years have not gone away. I argue that the new evidence from neural imaging and clinical neuropsychology does (...)
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  32. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2003). Seeing and Visualizing: It's Not What You Think. A Bradford Book.
    How we see and how we visualize: why the scientific account differs from our experience.
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  33. Zenon Pylyshyn (2002). Is the "Imagery Debate" Over? If so, What Was It About? In E. Dupoux, S. Dehane & L. Cohen (eds.), Cognition: A Critical Look. Advances, Questions and Controversies in Honor of J. Mehler. MIT Press.
    Jacques Mehler was notoriously charitable in embracing a diversity of approaches to science and to the use of many different methodologies. One place where his ecumenism brought the two of us into disagreement is when the evidence of brain imaging was cited in support of different psychological doctrines, such as the picture-theory of mental imagery. Jacques remained steadfast in his faith in the ability of neuroscience data (where the main source of evidence has been from clinical neurology and neuro-imaging) to (...)
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  34. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2002). Mental Imagery: In Search of a Theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):157-182.
    It is generally accepted that there is something special about reasoning by using mental images. The question of how it is special, however, has never been satisfactorily spelled out, despite more than thirty years of research in the post-behaviorist tradition. This article considers some of the general motivation for the assumption that entertaining mental images involves inspecting a picture-like object. It sets out a distinction between phenomena attributable to the nature of mind to what is called the cognitive architecture, and (...)
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  35. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2002). Stalking the Elusive Mental Image Screen. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):216-227.
    After thirty years of the current “imagery debate,” it appears far from resolved, even though there seems to be a growing acceptance that a cortical display cannot be identified directly with the experienced mental image, nor can it account for the experimental findings on imagery, at least not without additional ad hoc assumptions. The commentaries on the target article range from the annoyed to the supportive, with a surprising number of the latter. In this response I attempt to correct some (...)
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  36. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2001). Connecting Vision with the World: Tracking the Missing Link. In Joao Branquinho (ed.), The Foundations of Cognitive Science. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 183.
    You might reasonably surmise from the title of this paper that I will be discussing a theory of vision. After all, what is a theory of vision but a theory of how the world is connected to our visual representations? Theories of visual perception universally attempt to give an account of how a proximal stimulus (presumably a pattern impinging on the retina) can lead to a rich representation of a three dimensional world and thence to either the recognition of known (...)
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  37. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2001). Seeing, Acting, and Knowing. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):999-999.
    The target article proposes that visual experience arises when sensorimotor contingencies are exploited in perception. This novel analysis of visual experience fares no better than the other proposals that the article rightly dismisses, and for the same reasons. Extracting invariants may be needed for recognition, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient for having a visual experience. While the idea that vision involves the active extraction of sensorimotor invariants has merit, it does not replace the need for perceptual representations. Vision (...)
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  38. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2001). Visual Indexes, Preconceptual Objects, and Situated Vision. Cognition 80 (1-2):127-158.
    This paper argues that a theory of situated vision, suited for the dual purposes of object recognition and the control of action, will have to provide something more than a system that constructs a conceptual representation from visual stimuli: it will also need to provide a special kind of direct (preconceptual, unmediated) connection between elements of a visual representation and certain elements in the world. Like natural language demonstratives (such as `this' or `that') this direct connection allows entities to be (...)
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  39. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2001). Why the Mind is (Still) Not a Network. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (11):499.
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  40. Brian Scholl, Brian J. Scholl, Michael Kubovy, David van Valkenburg, Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Jacob Feldman, Susan Carey, Fei Xu & Claudia Uller (2001). Numbers 1, 2 Special Issue: Objects and Attention. Cognition 80 (301):301-302.
     
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  41. Z. Pylyshyn (2000). Situating the World in Vision. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4:197-207.
     
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  42. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2000). Is Vision Continuous with Cognition? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):341-365.
    Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to cognition. This target article sets out some of the arguments for both sides (arguments from computer vision, neuroscience, psychophysics, perceptual learning, and other areas of vision science) and defends the position that an important part of visual perception, corresponding to what some people have called early vision, (...)
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  43. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (2000). Situating Vision in the World. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (5):197-207.
  44. Ernest Lepore & Zenon Pylyshyn (eds.) (1999). What is Cognitive Science. Wiley-Blackwell.
  45. Zenon Pylyshyn (1999). Vision and Cognition: How Do They Connect? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):401-414.
    The target article claimed that although visual apprehension involves all of general cognition, a significant component of vision (referred to as early vision) works independently of cognition and yet is able to provide a surprisingly high level interpretation of visual inputs, roughly up to identifying general shape-classes. The commentators were largely sympathetic, but frequently disagreed on how to draw the boundary, on exactly what early vision delivers, on the role that attention plays, and on how to interpret the neurophysiological data (...)
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  46. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (1999). Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3 (2):81-82.
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  47. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (1999). Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong: By Jerry A. Fodor. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3 (2):81-82.
     
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  48. Zenon W. Pylyshyn (1999). Is Vision Continuous with Cognition? The Case for Cognitive Impenetrability of Visual Perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):341-365.
    Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to general cognition. This paper sets out some of the arguments for both sides (arguments from computer vision, neuroscience, Psychophysics, perceptual learning and other areas of vision science) and defends the position that an important part of visual perception, which may be called early vision or just vision, (...)
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  49. Z. W. Pylyshyn (1998). Visual Indexes in Spatial Vision and Imagery. In Richard D. Wright (ed.), Visual Attention. Oxford University Press. 231.
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  50. Zenon Pylyshyn (1996). The Frame Problem Blues. Once More, with Feeling. In K. M. Ford & Z. W. Pylyshyn (eds.), The Robot's Dilemma Revisited: The Frame Problem in Artificial Intelligence. Ablex.
    For many of the authors in this volume, this is the second attempt to explore what McCarthy and Hayes (1969) first called the “Frame Problem”. Since the first compendium (Pylyshyn, 1987), nicely summarized here by Ronald Loui, there have been several conferences and books on the topic. Their goals range from providing a clarification of the problem by breaking it down into subproblems (and sometimes declaring the hard subproblems to not be the_ real_ Frame Problem), to providing formal “solutions” to (...)
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