Achieving visual object constancy across plane rotation and depth rotation

Rebecca Lawson, University of Liverpool

Visual object constancy is the ability to recognise an object from its image despite variation in the image when the object is viewed from different angles. I describe research which probes the human visual system's ability to achieve object constancy across plane rotation and depth rotation. I focus on the ecologically important case of recognising familiar objects, although the recognition of novel objects is also discussed. Cognitive neuropsychological studies of patients with specific deficits in achieving object constancy are reviewed, in addition to studies which test neurally intact subjects. In certain cases, the recognition of invariant features allows objects to be recognised irrespective of the view depicted, particularly if small, distinctive sets of objects are presented repeatedly. In contrast, in most situations, recognition is sensitive to both the view in-plane and in-depth from which an object is depicted. This result suggests that multiple, view-specific, stored representations of familiar objects are accessed in everyday, entry- level visual recognition, or that transformations such as mental rotation or interpolation are used to transform between retinal images of objects and view-specific, stored representations.

Acta Psychologica, (1999), 102, 221-245