A spatial light modulator is often used as the basic element in real-time recognition architectures. However, many of the devices suffer from poor uniformity and/or nonlinearities that affect the overall performance of any real-time recognition scheme. We propose using optical feedback as a method of improving device performance. We demonstrate both positive and negative feedback separately through a mixture of on-board electronic processors and optical polarization intensity encoding. Placing the spatial light modulator in a positive feedback system causes the system to act like a memory. Placing the spatial light modulator in a negative feedback system makes the spatial light modulator response more analog, which in turn leads to improved uniformity.