Template theories

The basic idea behind template theories is that there is a miniature copy or template stored in long-term memory corresponding to each of the visual patterns we know. A pattern is recognised on the basis of which template provides the closest match to the stimulus input. This kind of theory is very simple, but it is not very realistic in view of the enormous variations in visual stimuli allegedly matching the same template.

One modest improvement to the basic template theory is to assume that the visual stimulus undergoes a normalisation process (i.e., producing an internal representation in a standard position, size, and so on) before the search for a matching template begins. Normalisation would help pattern recognition for letters and digits, but it is improbable that it would consistently produce matching with the appropriate template.

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