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By William R. Uttal

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The difficulty in studying cognitive functions, of which form recognition is only one component, is no different than in any other field of psychology. , detection, discrimination, or recognition) need necessarily be a demarcatable process thatcan be assigned exclusively to a particular part of thebrain or attributed to an independent cognitive component. It could as well be an attributeof the overall functioning of the brain or the collective action of a group of components of a coherent and heavily interconnected and thus,in principle, unanalyzable cognitive system.

Third,we still do not have a good mathematical way to describe organization and form. Our mathematics is predominantly analytic, rather than synthetic. This, then, in a nutshell is a brief history of the development of the idea of form and a list of some of the main contributors to its study. Many scholars, other than those listed here, have participated in the development of the concept of form and the definition of the term. However, these are the major historical players. We now have arrived at a point where modern times begin concerning the study of form recognition from an increasingly empirical perspective.

Sometimes such a simulation may be successful in superficially imitating some limited aspect of human performance. However, the review of the basic perceptual literature presented in Chapter 3 stronglysuggeststhat an algorithmic, feature processing a p proach is not the correct direction from whichto seek understandingof the organic process. What has all too often happened in this field is that the available tools and techniques of mathematics, science, and engineering are carelessly and glibly metamorphosized into psychobiological theories of organic form recognition in total disregard of what perceptual research on living organisms tells us.

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