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2011 Technical Reports

Visuo-cognitive Routines: reinterpreting the theory of visual routines as a framework for visual cognition

Wouter Kruijne and John K. Tsotsos

Technical Report CSE-2011-05

York University

August 31 2011


In solving its tasks, the visual system must be capable of more than simple detection of features. Good performance requires cognitive reasoning about the information that is extracted, which is highly task-dependent. Therefore, a mechanism of visual cognition is needed in order to guide the interaction of information coming from the senses and higher order processes that regulate task performance. Such visual problem solving was addressed by Ullman (1984) with the theory of visual routines, where tasks are solved by sequences of elemental operations. Although succesful, this theory relies on assumptions on vision and attention that are challenged by our modern understanding of these domains. This study presents a functional analysis of the visual routines framework and identifies elements that need to be reconsidered in order to provide the same functionality, yet conform with our modern understanding of visual processes. The proposed reconsiderations help shape a new framework for visual cognition that integrates the visual pathway, peripheral vision processing, inhibition of return, visual working memory processes, the attentional mechanisms that interact with these components, and higher order cognitive production rules. The operations are expressed both as general methods and applied scripts. Example problems that have been tackled using the classical visual routines framework are used to illustrate how this new framework operates.

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