The Stuff of Thought
The idea that shapes can be cognitively melted down into schematic blobs skewered on axes originally came from a theory of shape recognition by the computational neuroscientist David Marr. Marr noted how easily people recognize stick figures and animals made from pipe cleaners or twisted balloons, despite their dissimilarity from real objects in their arrangement of pixels. He proposed that we actually represent shapes in the mind in blog-and-axis models rather than in raw images, because such a model is stable as the object moves relative to the viewer.
Yes indeed, Steven Pinker has a new book out.