Author(s): Pylyshyn Z
This paper hypothesizes a resource-limited mechanism, called a FINST, for individuating or indexing visual features, as distinct from encoding their type or location. FINSTs have the property that they index features in a way that is transparent to their retinal location, and hence under certain conditions succeed in "pointing to" scene locations. The basic assumption is that no operation upon sets of features can occur unless all the features to which the operation applies are first FINSTed. A number of applications of this hypothesis are explored in this paper, including applications to phenomena such as the spatial stability of visual percepts, the ability to track several independently moving targets in parallel, the ability to detect a class of spatial relations requiring the use of "visual routines", various mental imagery phenomena, and the ability to encode complex shapes for recognition. In addition, the possibility is examined that such indexes might be used to bind perceived locations to arguments in motor commands, thereby allowing some forms of perceptual-motor coordination. Several additional assumptions are introduced for this purpose, including the postulation of other indexes (called ANCHORS) for non-visually sensed locations. It is assumed that ANCHORS can be bound to FINSTs, thus allowing cross-referencing of visually detected locations to locations given within a proprioceptive or motor-command frame of reference.