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Mind Classifies Object

 

Explanations > Perception > Visual Perception > Mind Classifies Object

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

As a stage in understanding what we see, after separating the object from the background, we want to be able to say 'this is an x' before the more specific 'this is x'. In other words, we classify the object, seeing it is a bird, a person, a box and so on, before moving on to the specifics.

Example

I see a shape in an alley. It looks like a dumpster. I ignore it.

I see the shape of a person at night. I look further. It is a dozing drunk. I ignore it.

Discussion

We classify objects by comparing them with inner 'libraries' of shapes that we can name, such as the shape of people, houses, footballs and so on. Such classification needs less information than a more detailed and absolute identification, such as friend, my house or a tournament-class football.

When we are looking at the world, a key question is what we can safely ignore and what needs further attention. Classification allows us to filter out many things without paying further attention. This time-saving is essential if we are to give important things our due attention.

So what?

You can speed communication by using silhouettes and general shapes where detail is not needed and could be a distraction. It also helps to use archetypical shapes even when you are using more detail as this helps the classification step.

See also

Schema, Meaning

 

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