CSS 2008 - Cognitive Science Society 2008 Conference Abstracts


Haladjian, H. & Montemayor, C. (2008). Spatial Cognition in Different Spaces. Cognitive Science Society 2008, Washington, DC.

In this paper, we explore the cognitive representation of space and how this representation corresponds to physical space. The problem of coordinating mental structures with physical ones continues to be an active topic of study in cognitive science, especially in the field of spatial cognition, spatial navigation, and in attempts to solve the binding problem in mental representations. Cognitive scientists generally refer to two distinct types of spatial representations: metric and conceptual. By merely posing different representations of space, we cannot fully address the problem of how a spatial representation is coordinated with physical space. We propose that a referential system, such as the indexing mechanism in visual processing, is critical for coordinating mental space and physical space. Theoretical and empirical support for this referential mechanism will be discussed, as well as how this mechanism might be the crucial link for connecting mental space to physical space.

Haladjian, H. & Pylyshyn, Z. (2008). Object-Specific Preview Benefit and Multiple Object Tracking: Priming Effects Enhanced During Active Tracking for Both English Letters and Unfamiliar Symbols. Cognitive Science Society 2008, Washington, DC.

Previous studies have provided support for object-based visual processing through an object-specific preview benefit (OSPB), which shows that a priming effect for object identity travels with an object over space and time (Kahneman, Treisman, & Gibbs, 1992). In a recent study, we link this object-based representation to indexing processes in early vision during Multiple Object Tracking (MOT). A typical MOT task requires observers to track several moving targets among identical distractors (Pylyshyn, 1988). By developing a task that combined the OSPB and MOT experimental frameworks, we found an enhanced preview benefit for English letters when active tracking was required (compared to non-tracking trials). In addition, trials using unfamiliar symbols from an ancient language also produced the same pattern of preview benefits during active tracking trials. We discuss the implications of these findings as they pertain to the nature of object representations and their interaction with early visual processes.

Kahneman, D., Treisman, A., & Gibbs, B. J. (1992). The reviewing of object files: Object-specific integration of information. Cognitive Psychology, 24(2), 175-219.

Pylyshyn, Z. W., & Storm, R. W. (1988). Tracking multiple independent targets: Evidence for a parallel tracking mechanism. Spatial Vision, 3(3), 179-197.