Learning about Canonical Views from Internet Image Collections

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Elad Mezuman, Yair Weiss


Although human object recognition is supposedly robust to viewpoint, much research on human perception indicates that there is a preferred or “canonical” view of objects. This phenomenon was discovered more than 30 years ago but the canonical view of only a small number of categories has been validated experimentally. Moreover, the explanation for why humans prefer the canonical view over other views remains elusive. In this paper we ask: Can we use Internet image collections to learn more about canonical views? We start by manually finding the most common view in the results returned by Internet search engines when queried with the objects used in psychophysical experiments. Our results clearly show that the most likely view in the search engine corresponds to the same view preferred by human subjects in experiments. We also present a simple method to find the most likely view in an image collection and apply it to hundreds of categories. Using the new data we have collected we present strong evidence against the two most prominent formal theories of canonical views and provide novel constraints for new theories.