The Status of the Minimum Principle in the Theoretical Analysis of Visual Perception

Psychological Bulletin 97 (2):155–186 (1985)
We examine a number of investigations of perceptual economy or, more specifically, of minimum tendencies and minimum principles in the visual perception of form, depth, and motion. A minimum tendency is a psychophysical finding that perception tends toward simplicity, as measured in accordance with a specified metric. A minimum principle is a theoretical construct imputed to the visual system to explain minimum tendencies. After examining a number of studies of perceptual economy, we embark on a systematic analysis of this notion. We examine the notion that simple perceptual representations must be defined within the "geometric constraints" provided by proximal stimulation. We then take up metrics of simplicity. Any study of perceptual economy must use a metric of simplicity; the choice of metric may be seen as a matter of convention, or it may have deep theoretical and empirical implications. We evaluate several answers to the question of why the visual system might favor economical representations. Finally, we examine several accounts of the process for achieving perceptual economy, concluding that those which favor massively parallel processing are the most plausible.
Keywords Minimum principles  Gestalt psychology  Coding theories of simpicity  Connectionism  Leeuwenberg, E L J  Gibson, J J  Cutting, J  Hochberg, J
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 25,091
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Principles of Object Perception.Elizabeth S. Spelke - 1990 - Cognitive Science 14 (1):29--56.
Representation and Content in Some (Actual) Theories of Perception.Gary Hatfield - 1988 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 19 (2):175-214.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
How 'Decent' Is a Decent Minimum of Health Care?R. T. Meulen - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (6):612-623.
The Place of Shepard in the World of Perception.Walter Gerbino - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (4):669-671.
Visual Perception and Subjective Visual Awareness.Antti Revonsuo - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (6):769-770.
What Needs to Emerge to Make You Conscious?Cees van Leeuwen - 2007 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (1):115-136.
The Ethics and Economics of the Minimum Wage.T. M. Wilkinson - 2004 - Economics and Philosophy 20 (2):351-374.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #271,676 of 2,132,865 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #197,287 of 2,132,865 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums