The Selective Attention for Action Model (SAAM). An exploration of affordances in a computational and experimental study

Boehme, Christoph (2011). The Selective Attention for Action Model (SAAM). An exploration of affordances in a computational and experimental study. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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In this thesis a connectionist model for affordance-guided selective attention for action is presented. The selective attention for action model (SAAM) is aimed at modelling the direct route from vision to action using Gibson's affordances to describe actions. In the model complex affordances are encoded in grasp postures. It is shown that this is a viable method to realise aordances. By deriving complex affordances from grasp postures which in turn are derived from grasp affordances and invariants in the visual information, the model implements a hierarchical structure of affordances as postulated in Gibson's affordance concept. This is a novel way of implementing affordances in a computational model. Three studies were conducted to explore the model. The grasp postures generated by SAAM are verified in Study 1 by comparing them with human grasp postures. These grasps were collected in an experiment which used the same stimulus shapes as the model. In Study 2 the attentional behaviour of SAAM is investigated. It is shown that the model is able to select only one of the objects in visual inputs showing multiple objects as well as selecting the appropriate action category (described by a grasp type). Furthermore, it is shown that the bottom-up selection of the model can be influenced by top-down feedback of action intentions. In Study 3 the fndings of Study 2 are applied to stimuli showing two hand-tools (pliers and hammer) to clarify how the findings of Study 2 link to complex affordances and action intentions. The results demonstrate that SAAM offers a novel and powerful way to implement complex affordances. Possibilities for further experimentation and extensions of the model are discussed.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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