Current theories propose that our sense of curiosity is determined by the learning progress or information gain that our cognitive system expects to make. However, few studies have explicitly tried to quantify subjective information gain and link it to measures of curiosity. Here, we asked people to report their curiosity about the intrinsically engaging perceptual ‘puzzles’ known as Mooney images, and to report on the strength of their aha experience upon revealing the solution image (curiosity relief). We also asked our (...) participants (279) to make a guess concerning the solution of the image, and used the distribution of these guesses to compute the crowdsourced semantic entropy (or ambiguity) of the images, as a measure of the potential for information gain. Our results confirm that curiosity and, even more so, aha experience is substantially associated with this semantic information gain measure. These findings support the expected information gain theory of curiosity and suggest that the aha experience or intrinsic reward is driven by the actual information gain. In an unannounced memory part, we also established that the often reported influence of curiosity on memory is fully mediated by the aha experience or curiosity relief. We discuss the implications of our results for the burgeoning fields of curiosity and psychoaesthetics. (shrink)
Perceptual organization comprises a wide range of processes such as perceptual grouping, figure-ground organization, filling-in, completion, and perceptual switching. The Oxford Handbook of Perceptual Organization provides a broad and extensive review of the current literature, written in an accessible form for scholars and students.
A series of experiments was performed in which subjects indicated whether two four-dot patterns were the same, although possibly viewed from different directions, or different, paired at random . Analyses of responses times and error rates suggest that the subjects' performance in this affine matching task is based on non-accidental properties such as convexity, parallelism, collinearity, and proximity, rather than on real affine invariants such as the ratio of triangular areas.
The challenges raised in this article are not with information theory per se, but the assumptions surrounding it. Neuroscience isn't sufficiently critical about the appropriate ‘receiver’ or ‘channel’, focuses on decoding ‘parts’, and often relies on a flawed ‘veridicality’ assumption. If these problematic assumptions were questioned, information theory could be better directed to help us understand how the brain works.
We outline three possible shortcomings of the SIMS model and specify these by applying the model to autism. First, the SIMS model assigns a causal role to brain processes, thereby excluding individual and situational factors. Second, there is no room for subjective and high-level conceptual processes in the model. Third, disentangling the different stages in the model is very difficult.
We review evidence regarding Tomasello et al.'s proposal that individuals with autism understand intentions but fail socially because of a lack of motivation to share intentions. We argue that they are often motivated to understand others but fail because they lack the perceptual integration skills that are needed to apply their basically intact theory of mind skills in complex social situations.
An important factor in judging whether two retinal images arise from the same object viewed from different positions may be the presence of certain properties or cues that are 'qualitative invariants' with respect to the natural transformations, particularly affine transformations, associated with changes in viewpoint. To test whether observers use certain affine qualitative cues such as concavity, convexity, collinearity, and parallelism of the image elements, a 'same-different' discrimination experiment was carried out with planar patterns that were defined by four points (...) either connected by straight line segments (line patterns) or marked by dots (dot patterns). The first three points of each pattern were generated randomly; the fourth point fell on their diagonal bisector. According to the position of that point, the patterns were concave, triangular (three points being collinear), convex, or parallel sided. In a 'same' trial, an affine transformation was applied to one of two identical patterns; in a 'different' trial, the affine transformation was applied after the point lying on the diagonal bisector was perturbed a short, fixed distance along the bisector, inwards for one pattern and outwards for the other. Observers' ability to discriminate 'same' from 'different' pairs of patterns depended strongly on the position of the fourth, displaced, point: performance varied rapidly when the position of the displaced point was such that the patterns were nearly triangular or nearly parallel sided, consistent with observers using the hypothesised qualitative cues. The experimental data were fitted with a simple probabilistic model of discrimination performance that used a combination of these qualitative cues and a single quantitative cue. (shrink)