In this talk I will introduce foveated perceptual systems (Deza & Konkle, 2020), inspired by human biological systems, and examine the impact that this foveation stage has on the nature and robustness of subsequently learned visual representation. Specifically, these two-stage perceptual systems first foveate an image, inducing a texture-like encoding of peripheral information, which is then inputted to a convolutional neural network (CNN) and trained to perform scene categorization. We find that: 1-- Systems trained on foveated inputs (Foveation-Nets) have similar generalization as networks trained on matched-resource networks without foveated input (Standard-Nets), yet show greater cross-generalization. 2-- Foveation-Nets show higher robustness than Standard-Nets to scotoma (fovea removed) occlusions, driven by the first foveation stage. 3-- Subsequent representations learned in the CNN of Foveation-Nets weigh center information more strongly than Standard-Nets. 4-- Foveation-Nets show less sensitivity to low-spatial frequency information than Standard-Nets. Furthermore, when we added biological and artificial augmentation mechanisms to each system through simulated eye-movements or random cropping and mirroring respectively, we found that these effects were amplified. Taken together, we find evidence that foveated perceptual systems learn a visual representation that is distinct from non-foveated perceptual systems, with implications in generalization, robustness, and perceptual sensitivity. These results provide computational support for the idea that the foveated nature of the human visual system might confer a functional advantage for scene representation. I will end the talk by briefly mentioning ongoing work that uses foveation in computer vision, simulated agents and robots.
Link to Zoom Webinar: https://mit.zoom.us/j/91907373441