Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972000 | Print ISBN: 9781412940818 | Online ISBN: 9781412972000| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Quoc C. Vuong
The environment is full of elementary features, such as shapes, colors, and textures. However, observers do not perceive these elements in isolation. Rather, they combine them into two-dimensional objects, such as red circles, or into three-dimensional objects, such as cats and people. This entry discusses object perception , broadly defined as the ability to combine elementary features into whole objects. The ability to perceive objects is an important precursor to recognize three-dimensional objects in the environment. Recognition can occur at different levels of specificity: Observers can identify an object as one they have seen before (e.g., their neighbor's pet cat), or they can categorize that object as belonging to a more general class (e.g., as an animal rather than a vehicle). This recognition process occurs very quickly and accurately, which allows observers to successfully interact with objects in their environment. The basic problem of object perception is the changing nature ...