David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):341-365 (1999)
Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to general cognition. This paper sets out some of the arguments for both sides (arguments from computer vision, neuroscience, Psychophysics, perceptual learning and other areas of vision science) and defends the position that an important part of visual perception, which may be called early vision or just vision, is prohibited from accessing relevant expectations, knowledge and utilities - in other words it is cognitively impenetrable. That part of vision is complex and articulated and provides a representation of the 3-D surfaces of objects sufficient to serve as an index into memory, with somewhat different outputs being made available to other systems such as those dealing with motor control. The paper also addresses certain conceptual and methodological issues, including the use of signal detection theory and event-related potentials to assess cognitive penetration of vision. A distinction is made among several stages in visual processing. These include, in addition to the inflexible early-vision stage, a pre-perceptual attention allocation stage and a post-perceptual evaluation, memory-accessing, and inference stage which provide several different highly constrained ways in which cognition can affect the outcome of visual perception. The paper discusses arguments that have been presented in both computer vision and psychology showing that vision is "intelligent" and involves elements of problem solving". It is suggested that these cases do not show cognitive penetration, but rather they show that certain natural constraints on interpretation, concerned primarily with optical and geometrical properties of the world, have been compiled into the visual system. The paper also examines a number of examples where instructions and "hints" are alleged to affect.
|Keywords||categorical perception cognitive penetration context effects early vision expert perception knowledge-based vision modularity of vision natural constraints “new look” in vision perceptual learning signal detection theory stages of vision top-down processes visual agnosia visual attention visual processing|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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Citations of this work BETA
Fiona Macpherson (2012). Cognitive Penetration of Colour Experience: Rethinking the Issue in Light of an Indirect Mechanism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):24-62.
E. J. Green (forthcoming). A Layered View of Shape Perception. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv042.
Brian J. Scholl & Patrice D. Tremoulet (2000). Perceptual Causality and Animacy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (8):299-309.
Dustin Stokes (2014). Cognitive Penetration and the Perception of Art (Winner of 2012 Dialectica Essay Prize). Dialectica 68 (1):1-34.
Robert Briscoe (2011). Mental Imagery and the Varieties of Amodal Perception. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (2):153-173.
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