Bottomup Processing Theories

Bottom-up theories is a general term referring to the direction of information processing in any given aspect of perceptual or cognitive theory. The term bottom-up, also called data-driven processing, was introduced by the American psychologists Donald A. Norman (1935- ) and David E. Rumelhart (1942- ), and refers to any form of information processing that is initiated, guided, and controlled by input that occurs in sequential stages, with each stage coming closer to a final interpretation than the last one. For example, in object perception theory, the analysis of objects into parts is called bottom-up processing because processing starts with basic units, and one's perception is then built on the foundation laid by these units. Object perception is influenced not only by the nature of the units that make up objects but, also, by the observer's knowledge of the world (cf., top-down processing). In cognitive theory, similarly, bottom-up processing refers to the determination of a process primarily by the physical stimulus. The notion is that observers deal with the information in a given situation by beginning with the "raw" stimulus and then "work their way up" to the more abstract, cognitive operations. Thus, taking sensory data into the perceptual system first by the receptors and then sending it upward to the cortex for extraction and analysis of relevant information is called bottom-up processing or data-driven processing. Sensations of visual features and perceptions of organized objects are largely the result of bottom-up processes. See also INFORMATION AND INFORMATION-PROCESSING THEORY; PATTERN AND OBJECT RECOGNITION THEORY; PERCEPTION (I. GENERAL), THEORIES OF; PERCEPTION (II. COMPARATIVE APPRAISAL), THEORIES OF; TOP-DOWN PROCESSING/THEORIES.

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