Zenon Pylyshyn

Zenon Pylyshyn
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey | Rutgers · Center for Cognitive Science

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184
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18,675
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Citations since 2017
1 Research Item
3440 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600

Publications

Publications (184)
Article
Studies of disrupted multiple object tracking (MOT) have shown tracking is better the closer disappearing items are to their reappearance sites: Items that halt while hidden are easier to track than those that move (Keane & Pylyshyn, 2006). These results suggest that past object-locations are remembered when items disappear briefly from view. Here...
Article
English words which are ambiguous with respect to their noun-verb part of speech were paired with nonsense words rendered unambiguous with respect to part of speech by appending suitable noun or verb endings. After PA learning trials a posttest revealed that the homograph with the same part of speech as that of its nonsense word associate tended to...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background / Purpose: The purpose of this experiment was to study the effect of occlusion and landmarks during single object tracking. We wanted to know how subjects were able to track a moving object when it moved behind an occluder (both with their eyes and hand responses). Landmarks were tested to see if visual cues had any effect on task perf...
Article
Moving objects in the world present a challenge to the visual system, in that they often move in and out of view as they are occluded by other surfaces. Nevertheless, the ability to track multiple objects through periods of occlusion is surprisingly robust. Here, we identify a simple heuristic that underlies this ability: Pre- and postocclusion vie...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background / Purpose: Earlier we reported (Haladjian & Pylyshyn 2010) that observers are able to rapidly and accurately enumerate up to six items when using an “enumerating-by-pointing” method (compared with the typical subitizing limit of four). We have been exploring possible reasons for this increase. Participants were shown masked displays th...
Article
Full-text available
The fast and accurate enumeration of a small set of objects, called subitizing, is thought to involve a different mechanism from other numerosity judgments, such as those based on estimation. In this report, we examine the subitizing limit using a novel enumeration task that obtained the perceived locations of enumerated objects. Observers were sho...
Article
Full-text available
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Article
We have been using a Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) paradigm (Pylyshyn & Storm, 1988) to explore people's ability to track a number (usually 4 or 5) of designated visual targets when these are intermixed among a number of nontargets, all of which are identical and move independently in unpredictable ways. This paper will summarize some recent unant...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that observers are able to track at least four moving targets among identical distractors. According to Pylyshyn's account, tracking uses a preattentive mechanism called a Visual Index (or FINST). Several people have challenged the assumption that MOT is preattentive. Treisman (1993) showed that a simultaneous task of mo...
Article
Full-text available
In the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) paradigm observers track a designated set of (typically 4) objects that move independently and unpredictably among an equal number of identical distractors. It has been shown (Scholl, Pylyshyn & Franconeri, 1999) that, consistent with Pylyshyn's Visual Indexing Theory, a change in the color or shape of a tracke...
Article
In Multiple Object Tracking (MOT), an observer is able to track 4 - 5 objects in a group of otherwise indistinguishable objects that move independently and unpredictably about a display. According to the Visual Indexing Theory (Pylyshyn, 1989), successful tracking requires that target objects be indexed while they are distinct - before tracking beg...
Article
We have been exploring the visual search paradigm under conditions where items to be searched move in an unpredictable manner in order to determine if the visual system can reference objects that occupy changing locations. In the present study, the moving search task was combined with a multiple-object-tracking task in which 3 to 5 items were track...
Article
Last year, we showed that targets in Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) can be indexed voluntarily as well as involuntarily. However, whereas involuntary indexing is automatic and simultaneous, voluntary indexing requires that each target object be visited serially. This year we present further evidence to support this claim. In experiment 1, the obser...
Article
Recently we reported an attempt to measure the attentional demand of the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task, which many people have claimed requires considerable attentional resources. The experiment we reported appeared to support this contention since tracking performance was worse when carried out simultaneously with a color-change monitoring t...
Article
Visual Indexing Theory (Pylyshyn, 1989, 2001) assumes that events such as flashes cause indexes to be automatically assigned, or "grabbed," by the flashed objects. It also assumes that once assigned, indexes stay assigned to the same individual objects as these objects move around in the visual field, and even when they briefly disappear, thus acco...
Conference Paper
In Multiple Object Tracking (MOT), observers keep track of a set of (about 4) targets which move randomly and independently among a set of identical nontargets. Earlier we reported that keeping track of the identity of targets (as measured by recall of their previously assigned labels) tended to be poorer that keeping track of their status as targe...
Article
This study investigates a new experimental paradigm called the Modified Traveling Salesman Problem (Bullot & Droulez, submitted). This task requires subjects to visit once and only once n invisible targets in a 2D display, using a virtual vehicle controlled by the subject. Subjects can only see the directions of the targets from the current locatio...
Article
Alvarez & Cavanagh (VSS 2004) showed that attentive tasks presented to left and right cerebral hemispheres appear to be carried out independently, so observers perform a pair of tasks presented to different hemispheres much better than when they are presented to the same hemisphere. We further explore this important finding by using a pair of multi...
Article
Using the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task involving tracking 4 targets moving randomly among 4 identical nontargets, Pylyshyn & Leonard (VSS03) showed that a small brief probe dot was detected more poorly when it occurred on a nontarget than when it occurred either on a target or in the space between items, suggesting that moving nontarget item...
Article
Hung, Wilder, Curry & Julesz (1995) used sequential and simultaneous presentations to distinguish the encoding and storage limitations of visual short term memory. They found that simultaneous presentation led to better recall than sequential presentations and that with sequential presentations a slower rate of presentation (SOA of 50 ms) led to be...
Article
Full-text available
If several moving items are made distinct by flashing them, would this attract attention to them and thus prime them even though they move among identical nonflashed items? FINST index theory predicts that it would, and therefore that tracking in Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) experiments relies in part on an automatic indexing process. In this stu...
Article
A considerable amount of research has uncovered several heuristics that the visual system employs to keep track of objects through frequent periods of occlusion. Relatively little work, by comparison, has investigated the on-line mechanisms that implement and support these heuristics. We explored how attention is distributed throughout a display wh...
Article
As we move about the world, and objects in the world move relative to us, objects constantly move in and out of view as they are occluded by other objects. How does the visual system maintain attention on objects of interest, given such disruptions? To explore the spatiotemporal cues used to link the pre- and post-occlusion views of objects, we ask...
Article
Purpose. In Multiple Object Tracking (MOT), observers follow a specified subset of identical visual objects that move independently about a display. Using a variant of MOT in which all objects instantaneously disappeared and reappeared during tracking, it was found (a) subjects track better when objects reappeared at the locus of disappearance than...
Article
Pylyshyn (2001) has theorized that people assign visual indexes to a small number of items in their visual field, which allows them to keep track of the items as they move. The present study asks whether this ability to index and track items develops with age. The task was a modification of the original M.O.T. paradigm. Children had to keep track o...
Article
Visual Indexing Theory proposes a referential mechanism that tracks objects in a visual scene without necessarily encoding object properties, as demonstrated through Multiple Object Tracking experiments. The encoding of location information during object tracking, however, remains a possible exception. In the current studies, we tracked eye movemen...
Article
Full-text available
Everyday tasks often require us to keep track of multiple objects in dynamic scenes. Past studies show that tracking becomes more difficult as objects move faster. In the present study, we show that this trade-off may not be due to increased speed itself but may, instead, be due to the increased crowding that usually accompanies increases in speed....
Article
A considerable amount of research has uncovered heuristics that the visual system employs to keep track of objects through periods of occlusion. Relatively little work, by comparison, has investigated the online resources that support this processing. We explored how attention is distributed when featurally identical objects become occluded during...
Book
In Things and Places, Zenon Pylyshyn argues that the process of incrementally constructing perceptual representations, solving the binding problem (determining which properties go together), and, more generally, grounding perceptual representations in experience arise from the nonconceptual capacity to pick out and keep track of a small number of s...
Article
In a series of five experiments, we investigated whether visual tracking mechanisms utilize prediction when recovering multiple reappearing objects. When all objects abruptly disappeared and reappeared mid-trajectory, it was found that (a) subjects tracked better when objects reappeared at their loci of disappearance than when they reappeared in th...
Article
We present three studies examining whether multiple object tracking (MOT) benefits from the active inhibition of nontargets, as proposed in Pylyshyn (2004, Visual Cognition). Using a probe-dot technique, the first study showed poorer probe detection on nontargets than on either the targets being tracked or in the empty space between objects. The se...
Article
As we move about the world, and objects in the world move relative to us, objects constantly move in and out of view as they are occluded by other objects. Given such disruptions, how does the visual system maintain attention on objects of interest? We used a multiple object tracking task (Pylyshyn & Storm, 1988) to explore the spatiotemporal cues...
Article
In four experiments we address the question whether several visual objects can be selected voluntarily (exogenously) and then tracked in a Multiple Object Tracking paradigm and, if so, whether the selection involves a different process. Experiment 1 showed that items can indeed be selected based on their labels. Experiment 2 showed that to select t...
Article
This commentary argues that the “illusion” to which Wegner refers in The Illusion of Conscious Will is actually the illusion that our conscious experience of mentally causing certain behaviors explains the behavior in question: It is not the subjective experience itself that is illusory, but the implied causal explanation. The experience of “mental...
Article
The task of tracking a small number (about four or five) visual targets within a larger set of identical items, each of which moves randomly and independently, has been used extensively to study object‐based attention. Analysis of this multiple object tracking (MOT) task shows that it logically entails solving the correspondence problem for each ta...
Article
Assuming that the vehicle of imaginal thought is a spatial model may not be quite as egregious an error as assuming it is a two-dimensional picture, but it represents no less a reification error. Because the model is not a literal physical layout, one is still owed an explanation of why spatial properties hold in the model – whether because of arch...
Article
Full-text available
Last year at VSS, Bullot, Droulez & Pylyshyn (2003) reported studies using a Modified Traveling Salesman Paradigm (MTSP) in which a virtual vehicle had to visit up to 10 targets once and only once, and in which the invisible targets were identified only by line segments pointing from the vehicle toward each target. We hypothesized that subjects use...
Article
This paper has presented a number of examples illustrating the usefulness of assuming a primitive mechanism capable of individuating and dynamically indexing a small number of features (or feature-clusters) in a visual field. Such an assumption can help illuminate a number of quite disparate empirical phenomena. It was argued that something very mu...
Article
this article was supported by NIH grant 1R01 MH60924
Article
In the past decade there has been renewed interest in the study of mental imagery. Emboldened by new findings from neuroscience, many people have revived the idea that mental imagery involves a special format of thought, one that is pictorial in nature. But the evidence and the arguments that exposed deep conceptual and empirical problems in the pi...
Article
Guidelines for submitting commentsPolicy: Comments that contribute to the discussion of the article will be posted within approximately three business days. We do not accept anonymous comments. Please include your email address; the address will not be displayed in the posted comment. Cell Press Editors will screen the comments to ensure that they...
Article
Purpose. In Multiple Object Tracking (MOT), subjects follow a flashed subset of identical visual objects that move independently about a display. It is known that under some conditions it is possible to track objects even when they completely disappear from view (e.g. Scholl and Pylyshyn (1998)). Our primary aim in this study is to examine whether...
Book
This book is about how we see and how we visualize. But it is equally about how we are easily misled by our everyday experiences of these faculties. Galileo is said to have proclaimed (Galilei, 1610/1983; quoted in Slezak, submitted), "dots if men had been born blind, philosophy would be more perfect, because it would lack many false assumptions th...
Article
chemas, sometimes as "the ctlvation of perceptual processes", and ore recently as auaoues. The little man or his part has been put in a black box here he continues to live under such guises s "the visual system" or as something which esponds to the analogues by moving limbs or ttering sentences as required. This ccount is admittedly unfair to the m...
Article
Introduction. The topic under consideration in this conference session (viz. Language and Perception) is not the one to which the greatest amount of attention has been devoted in philosophy of mind and philos- ophy of language. There a major concern has been the relation between language and thought. As everyone knows there has been a long standing...
Article
Full-text available
It is generally accepted that there is something special about reasoning by using mental images. The question of how it is special, however, has never been satisfactorily spelled out, despite more than thirty years of research in the post-behaviorist tradition. This article considers some of the general motivation for the assumption that entertaini...
Article
After thirty years of the current “imagery debate,” it appears far from resolved, even though there seems to be a growing acceptance that a cortical display cannot be identified directly with the experienced mental image, nor can it account for the experimental findings on imagery, at least not without additional ad hoc assumptions. The commentarie...
Article
This book is about how we see and how we visualize. But it is equally about how we are easily misled by our everyday experiences of these faculties. Galileo is said to have proclaimed (Galilei, 1610/1983; quoted in Slezak, submitted), "dots if men had been born blind, philosophy would be more perfect, because it would lack many false assumptions th...
Article
The target article proposes that visual experience arises when sensorimotor contingencies are exploited in perception. This novel analysis of visual experience fares no better than the other proposals that the article rightly dismisses, and for the same reasons. Extracting invariants may be needed for recognition, but it is neither necessary nor su...
Article
This paper argues that a theory of situated vision, suited for the dual purposes of object recognition and the control of action, will have to provide something more than a system that constructs a conceptual representation from visual stimuli: it will also need to provide a special kind of direct (preconceptual, unmediated) connection between elem...
Article
The notion that visual attention can operate over visual objects in addition to spatial locations has recently received much empirical support, but there has been relatively little empirical consideration of what can count as an 'object' in the first place. We have investigated this question in the context of the multiple object tracking paradigm,...
Article
Full-text available
Visual attention allows an observer to select certain visual information for specialized processing. Selection is readily apparent in 'tracking' tasks where even with the eyes fixed, observers can track a target as it moves among identical distractor items. In such a case, a target is distinguished by its spatial trajectory. Here we show that one c...
Article
Full-text available
How are attentional priorities set when multiple stimuli compete for access to the limited-capacity visual attention system? According to Pylyshyn (1989) and Yantis and Johnson (1990), a small number of visual objects can be preattentively indexed or tagged and thereby accessed more rapidly by a subsequent attentional process (e.g., the traditional...
Article
This paper presents three experiments investigating the claim that the visual system utilizes a primitive indexing mechanism (sometimes called FINSTS; Pylyshyn, 1989) to make non-contiguous features directly accessible for further visual processing. This claim is investigated using a variant of the conjunction search task in which subjects search a...
Article
Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in what has been called 'situated cognition', which has included claims that certain forms of representation are inadequate for modeling active organisms or agents such as humans and robots. In this article, I suggest that a weakness in classical theories of visual representation is the way in which...
Article
How are attentional priorities set when multiple stimuli compete for access to the limited-capacity visual attention system? According to Pylyshyn (1989) and Yantis and Johnson (1990), a small number of visual objects can be preattentively indexed or tagged and thereby accessed more rapidly by a subsequent attentional process (e.g., the traditional...
Article
Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to cognition. This target article sets out some of the arguments for both sides (arguments from computer vision, neuroscience, psychophysics, perceptual learn...
Article
The target article claimed that although visual apprehension involves all of general cognition, a significant component of vision (referred to as early vision) works independently of cognition and yet is able to provide a surprisingly high level interpretation of visual inputs, roughly up to identifying general shape-classes. The commentators...
Article
In three experiments, subjects attempted to track multiple items as they moved independently and unpredictably about a display. Performance was not impaired when the items were briefly (but completely) occluded at various times during their motion, suggesting that occlusion is taken into account when computing enduring perceptual objecthood. Unimpa...
Article
The term "mind" has been associated with psychology at least as far back as William James who defined psychology as the "Science of Mental Life". Yet in the past 50 years it has fallen into disfavor. But there is good reason to believe that this was a mistake and that psychology really is about the mind. And it particular that the explanations of b...
Article
This article defends the claim that a significant part of visual perception (called "early vision") is impervious to the influence of beliefs, expectations or knowledge.
Article
Full-text available
Four experiments with undergraduates used illusory line motion (ILM) to contrast Z. W. Pylyshyn's (1989) FINST theory of spatial indexing with predictions made by unitary attention models. Multiple-onset stimuli were able to cause ILM at disparate, noncontiguous spatial locations. Consistent with gradient explanations of ILM and with FINST theory p...
Article
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Article
This paper presents three experiments investigating the claim that the visual system utilizes a primitive indexing mechanism (sometimes called FINSTS; Pylyshyn, 1989) to make non-contiguous features directly accessible for further visual processing. This claim is investigated using a variant of the conjunction search task in which subjects search a...
Article
ther there really is a need for a more accessible version of the Fodor-Pylyshyn cognitivist program." While it is flattering to be ranked among Newell, Simon, Chomsky, Fodor and Marr, it does make one wonder whether anyone has been listening over the past two decades or more (I would say over the past 50 years since I include Alan Turing in the so-...
Article
Introduction Nobody doubts that computers have had a profound influence on the study of human cognition. The very existence of a discipline called Cognitive Science is a tribute to this influence. One of the principal characteristics that distinguishes Cognitive Science from more traditional studies of cognition within Psychology, is the extent to...
Book
The chapters in this book have evolved from talks originally presented at The First International Workshop on Human and Machine Cognition. Although the workshop took place in1989, the papers that appear here are more recent, completed some time after the workshop. They reflect both the spontaneous exchanges in that halcyon setting and the extensive...
Article
Nature is the international weekly journal of science: a magazine style journal that publishes full-length research papers in all disciplines of science, as well as News and Views, reviews, news, features, commentaries, web focuses and more, covering all branches of science and how science impacts upon all aspects of society and life.
Article
Full-text available
It is widely accepted that there exists a region or locus of maximal resource allocation in visual perception--sometimes referred to as the spotlight of attention. We have argued that even if there is a single locus of processing, there must be multiple loci of parallel access--several places in the visual field must be indexed at once and these in...
Article
Full-text available
"Subitizing," the process of enumeration when there are fewer than 4 items, is rapid (40-100 ms/item), effortless, and accurate. "Counting," the process of enumeration when there are more than 4 items, is slow (250-350 ms/item), effortful, and error-prone. Why is there a difference in the way the small and large numbers of items are enumerated? A t...
Article
We argue that enumerating 1–4 (subitizing) involves a preattentive mechanism that pre-selects a small number of items for the attentional focus, whereas enumerating larger numbers involves actually changing the position of the attentional focus (Trick & Pylyshyn, 1993). The position of the attentional focus should thus have a stronger effect on enu...
Article
Our approach to studying the architecture of mind has been to look for certain extremely simple mechanisms which we have good reason to suspect must exist, and to confirm these empirically. We have been concerned primarily with certain low-level mechanisms in vision which allow the visual system to simultaneously index items at multiple spatial loc...
Article
''Subitizing,'' the process of enumeration when there are fewer than 4 items, is rapid (40-100 ms/item), effortless, and accurate. ''Counting' the process of enumeration when there are more than 4 items, is slow (250-350 ms/item), effortful, and error-prone. Why is there a difference in the way the small and large numbers of items are enumerated? A...
Article
Full-text available
Subitizing, the enumeration of 1-4 items, is rapid (40-120 ms/item) and accurate. Counting, the enumeration of 5 items or more, is slow (250-350 ms/item) and error-prone. Why are small numbers of items enumerated differently from large numbers of items? It is suggested that subitizing relies on a preattentive mechanism. Ss could subitize heterogene...
Article
Allen Newell (1927 - 1992) - Volume 15 Issue 3 - Herbert A. Simon, Zenon W. Pylyshyn
Article
An abstract is not available.
Chapter
It has probably not escaped your notice that developing causal theories in psychology is incredibly difficult. Why should that be? Surely not for the sorts of reasons that are commonly given in introductory psychology classes. It’s not that the science is young, for it is at least as old as physics. It’s not that people are ever so complex, for so...
Article
This paper hypothesizes a resource-limited mechanism, called a FINST, for individuating or indexing visual features, as distinct from encoding their type or location. FINSTs have the property that they index features in a way that is transparent to their retinal location, and hence under certain conditions succeed in "pointing to" scene locations....

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