Implicit scene segmentation in deeper convolutional neural networks

Seijdel, N., Sakmakidis, N., De Haan, E. H. F., Bohte, S. M., & Scholte, H. S. (2019). Implicit scene segmentation in deeper convolutional neural networks. In Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (pp. 1059-1062). doi:10.32470/CCN.2019.1149-0.
Feedforward deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) are matching and even surpassing human performance on object recognition. This performance suggests that activation of a loose collection of image features could support the recognition of natural object categories, without dedicated systems to solve specific visual subtasks. Recent findings in humans however, suggest that while feedforward activity may suffice for sparse scenes with isolated objects, additional visual operations ('routines') that aid the recognition process (e.g. segmentation or grouping) are needed for more complex scenes. Linking human visual processing to performance of DCNNs with increasing depth, we here explored if, how, and when object information is differentiated from the backgrounds they appear on. To this end, we controlled the information in both objects and backgrounds, as well as the relationship between them by adding noise, manipulating background congruence and systematically occluding parts of the image. Results indicated less distinction between object- and background features for more shallow networks. For those networks, we observed a benefit of training on segmented objects (as compared to unsegmented objects). Overall, deeper networks trained on natural (unsegmented) scenes seem to perform implicit 'segmentation' of the objects from their background, possibly by improved selection of relevant features.
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