On the Matching of Seen and Felt Shape by Newly Sighted Subjects

I-Perception 3 (3):186-188 (2012)
How do we recognize identities between seen shapes and felt ones? Is this due to associative learning, or to intrinsic connections these sensory modalities? We can address this question by testing the capacities of newly sighted subjects to match seen and felt shapes, but only if it is shown that the subjects can see the objects well enough to form adequate visual representations of their shapes. In light of this, a recent study by R. Held and colleagues fails to demonstrate that their newly sighted subjects’ inability to match seen and felt shape was due to a lack of intermodal connections rather than a purely visual deficit, as they may not have been able visually to represent 3D shape in the perspective-invariant way required for intermodal matching. However, the study could be modified in any of several ways to help avoid this problem.
Keywords Molyneux problem  Molyneux's question  visual perception  haptic perception  spatial perception  intermodal perception  empiricism
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David H. Sanford (1983). The Perception of Shape. In Carl Ginet & Sydney Shoemaker (eds.), Knowledge And Mind: Phil Essays. Oxford University Press
Kirk A. Ludwig (1996). Shape Properties and Perception. In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Philosophical Issues. Atascadero: Ridgeview 325-350.
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