Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Topology of Human Perception

Version 1 : Received: 24 March 2019 / Approved: 26 March 2019 / Online: 26 March 2019 (10:12:37 CET)

How to cite: Tozzi, A.; Peters, J. F. Topology of Human Perception. Preprints 2019, 2019030235 Tozzi, A.; Peters, J. F. Topology of Human Perception. Preprints 2019, 2019030235


During the exploration of the surrounding environment, the brain links together external inputs, giving rise to perception of a persisting object. During imaginative processes, the same object can be recalled in mind even if it is out of sight. Here, topological theory of shape provides a mathematical foundation for the notion of persistence perception. In particular, we focus on ecological theories of perception, that account for our knowledge of world objects by borrowing a concept of invariance in topology. We show how a series of transformations can be gradually applied to a pattern, in particular to the shape of an object, without affecting its invariant properties, such as boundedness of parts of a visual scene. High-level representations of objects in our environment are mapped to simplified views (our interpretations) of the objects, in order to construct a symbolic representation of the environment. The representations can be projected continuously to an environmental object that we have seen and continue to see, thanks to the mapping from shapes in our memory to shapes in Euclidean space.


Brain; Borsuk-Ulam theorem; sensation; environment; ecological theory


Computer Science and Mathematics, Computer Science

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