University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors

How active perception and attractor dynamics shape perceptual categorization: A computational model

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNeural Networks
Early online date23 Jul 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jul 2014


We propose a computational model of perceptual categorization that fuses elements of grounded and sensorimotor theories of cognition with dynamic models of decision-making. We assume that category information consists in anticipated patterns of agent–environment interactions that can be elicited through overt or covert (simulated) eye movements, object manipulation, etc. This information is firstly encoded when category information is acquired, and then re-enacted during perceptual categorization. The perceptual categorization consists in a dynamic competition between attractors that encode the sensorimotor patterns typical of each category; action prediction success counts as ‘‘evidence’’ for a given category and contributes to falling into the corresponding attractor. The evidence accumulation process is guided by an active perception loop, and the active exploration of objects (e.g., visual exploration) aims at eliciting expected sensorimotor patterns that count as evidence for the object category. We present a computational model incorporating these elements and describing action prediction, active perception, and attractor dynamics as key elements of perceptual categorizations. We test the model in three simulated perceptual categorization tasks, and we discuss its relevance for grounded and sensorimotor theories of cognition.

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