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  A novel approach to investigate recursion and iteration in visual hierarchical processing

Martins, M., Martins, I. P., & Fitch, W. T. (2016). A novel approach to investigate recursion and iteration in visual hierarchical processing. Behavior Research Methods, 48(4), 1421-1442. doi:10.3758/s13428-015-0657-1.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-80A3-7 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-1A6A-A
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Martins, Mauricio1, 2, 3, Author              
Martins, Isabel Pavão4, Author
Fitch, W. Tecumseh1, Author
Affiliations:
1Department of Cognitive Biology, University Vienna, Austria, ou_persistent22              
2Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              
4Language Research Laboratory, University of Lisbon, Portugal, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Recursion; Iteration; Cognition; Vision; Fractals; Representation
 Abstract: We describe a new method to explore recursive cognition in the visual domain. We define recursion as the ability to represent multiple hierarchical levels using the same rule, entailing the ability to generate new levels beyond those previously encountered. With this definition recursion can be distinguished from general hierarchical embedding. To investigate this recursion/hierarchy distinction in the visual domain, we developed two novel methods: The Visual Recursion Task (VRT), in which an inferred rule is used to represent new hierarchical levels, and the Embedded Iteration Task (EIT), in which additional elements are added to an existing hierarchical level. We found that adult humans can represent recursion in the visuo-spatial domain, and that this ability is distinct from both general intelligence and the ability to represent iterative processes embedded within hierarchical structures. Compared with embedded iteration, visual recursion correlated positively with other recursive planning tasks (Tower of Hanoi), but not with specific visuo-spatial resources (spatial short-term memory and working memory). We conclude that humans are able to use recursive representations to process complex visuo-spatial hierarchies and that our visual recursion task taps into specific cognitive resources. This method opens exciting opportunities to explore the relationship between visual recursion and language.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2015-10-202016-12
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3758/s13428-015-0657-1
BibTex Citekey: Martins2015
PMID: 26487047
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Title: Behavior Research Methods
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Austin, TX : Psychonomic Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 48 (4) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1421 - 1442 Identifier: ISSN: 1554-3528
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1554-3528