How the brain recognises objects

To recognise a chair or a dog, our brain separates objects into their individual properties and then puts them back together. Until recently, it has remained unclear what these properties are. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have now identified them – from “fluffy” to “valuable” – and found that all it takes is 49 properties to recognise almost any object. We live in a world full of things that we have to identify and classify into different categories. Only when you are able to identify the things around you, you can communicate with others about them and act in a meaningful way. If we see something in front of us that we recognise as a chair, we can sit on it. Once we have identified an object as a cup, we can lift it up and drink from it. In order to carry out this mapping and make sense of our environment, we have to constantly compare the input to our senses with the information we have already learned. To do this, the…