Cognitive penetration of early vision in face perception

Consciousness and Cognition 63:254-266 (2018)
Ariel Cecchi
University College London
Cognitive and affective penetration of perception refers to the influence that higher mental states such as beliefs and emotions have on perceptual systems. Psychological and neuroscientific studies appear to show that these states modulate the visual system at the visuomotor, attentional, and late levels of processing. However, empirical evidence showing that similar consequences occur in early stages of visual processing seems to be scarce. In this paper, I argue that psychological evidence does not seem to be either sufficient or necessary to argue in favour of or against the cognitive penetration of perception in either late or early vision. In order to do that we need to have recourse to brain imaging techniques. Thus, I introduce a neuroscientific study and argue that it seems to provide well-grounded evidence for the cognitive penetration of early vision in face perception. I also examine and reject alternative explanations to my conclusion.
Keywords Visual perception  Early vision  Late vision  Cognitive penetration  Affective penetration  Early visual processing  Top-down modulation  Face perception
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2018.06.005
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