Human Symmetry Uncertainty Detected by a Self-Organizing Neural Network Map

Symmetry 13:299 (2021)
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Symmetry in biological and physical systems is a product of self-organization driven by evolutionary processes, or mechanical systems under constraints. Symmetry-based feature extraction or representation by neural networks may unravel the most informative contents in large image databases. Despite significant achievements of artificial intelligence in recognition and classification of regular patterns, the problem of uncertainty remains a major challenge in ambiguous data. In this study, we present an artificial neural network that detects symmetry uncertainty states in human observers. To this end, we exploit a neural network metric in the output of a biologically inspired Self- Organizing Map Quantization Error (SOM-QE). Shape pairs with perfect geometry mirror symmetry but a non-homogenous appearance, caused by local variations in hue, saturation, or lightness within and/or across the shapes in a given pair produce, as shown here, a longer choice response time (RT) for “yes” responses relative to symmetry. These data are consistently mirrored by the variations in the SOM-QE from unsupervised neural network analysis of the same stimulus images. The neural network metric is thus capable of detecting and scaling human symmetry uncertainty in response to patterns. Such capacity is tightly linked to the metric’s proven selectivity to local contrast and color variations in large and highly complex image data.

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Birgitta Dresp-Langley
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


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