Psychophysical Methods and the Evasion of Introspection

(forthcoming)
Abstract
In this paper I argue that certain methodological conventions within psychophysics reflect a continued uncertainty over the reliability of subjects’ introspective judgements. Firstly, different psychophysical methods do not rely equally on the introspective capabilities of experimental subjects. I contrast “minimally introspective” tasks with “introspection-reliant” ones. It is only in the latter that introspection can be said to have a nontrivial role in the subjects’ performance. Secondly, my distinction maps onto a number of important methodological divisions in vision science. The introspection-reliant categorization captures many of the tasks typically considered less able to yield useful information regarding the processes underlying visual sensation
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Peter Carruthers (2010). Introspection: Divided and Partly Eliminated. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):76-111.
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