Seeing Eye-to-Eye? A Comparison of Object Recognition Performance in Humans and Deep Convolutional Neural Networks under Image Manipulation

07/13/2020 ∙ by Leonard E. van Dyck, et al. ∙ 0

For a considerable time, deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) have reached human benchmark performance in object recognition. On that account, computational neuroscience and the field of machine learning have started to attribute numerous similarities and differences to artificial and biological vision. This study aims towards a behavioral comparison of visual core object recognition between humans and feedforward neural networks in a classification learning paradigm on an ImageNet data set. For this purpose, human participants (n = 65) competed in an online experiment against different feedforward DCNNs. The designed approach based on a typical learning process of seven different monkey categories included a training and validation phase with natural examples, as well as a testing phase with novel shape and color manipulations. Analyses of accuracy revealed that humans not only outperform DCNNs on all conditions, but also display significantly greater robustness towards shape and most notably color alterations. Furthermore, a precise examination of behavioral patterns highlights these findings by revealing independent classification errors between the groups. The obtained results endorse an implementation of recurrent circuits similar to the primate ventral stream in artificial vision models as a way to achieve adequate object generalization abilities across unexperienced manipulations.

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