A Synergetic Approach to Visual Perception

  • H. Haken


The title of this book, Machinery of the Mind, may be interpreted either that we search for the material substrates of mental processes or that we study mechanisms underlying these processes. When we look for the building blocks of the material substrate in brains, we are readily led to neurones. Although properties of individual neurones, including those involved in vision, have been studied in detail, not as much is known about their joint action because studies based on multielectrode derivations are just in their beginning stages, yet there is no doubt that perception is a process in which a very great number of neurones are involved. In order to obtain a deeper understanding of processes going on in the material substrate when perception takes place, one may follow two different approaches. In the bottom-up approach we start with some idealized properties of neurones, which may be called model neurones. With their help, we try to build up networks that perform specific functions. This way is followed in the rapidly developing field of neurocomputers. There is yet another way; namely, the top-down approach where we start with the known or required functions of a system, in particular of the brain, and then we ask what kind of properties are required so that the system fulfills specific tasks. In this way one may hope to obtain insights into the operation and perhaps also in the properties of the elements of networks that are required to fulfill the prescribed tasks.


Visual Perception Model Neurone Visual Information Processing Attention Parameter Prototype Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. Basar, E., Flohr, H., Haken, H., Mandell, A.J. (1983): Synergetics of the brain. Berlin: Springer VerlagCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Haken H. (1990): Synergetic Computers and Cognition. Berlin: Springer VerlagCrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

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  • H. Haken

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