A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):883-917 (2001)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Many current neurophysiological, psychophysical, and psychological approaches to vision rest on the idea that when we see, the brain produces an internal representation of the world. The activation of this internal representation is assumed to give rise to the experience of seeing. The problem with this kind of approach is that it leaves unexplained how the existence of such a detailed internal representation might produce visual consciousness. An alternative proposal is made here. We propose that seeing is a way of acting. It is a particular way of exploring the environment. Activity in internal representations does not generate the experience of seeing. The out- side world serves as its own, external, representation. The experience of seeing occurs when the organism masters what we call the gov- erning laws of sensorimotor contingency. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a natural and principled way of accounting for visual consciousness, and for the differences in the perceived quality of sensory experience in the different sensory modalities. Sev- eral lines of empirical evidence are brought forward in support of the theory, in particular: evidence from experiments in sensorimotor adaptation, visual “filling in,” visual stability despite eye movements, change blindness, sensory substitution, and color perception

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,347

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
1,032 (#13,119)

6 months
83 (#58,793)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

References found in this work

Image and Mind.Stephen Michael Kosslyn - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 1785 - University Park, Pa.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derek R. Brookes & Knud Haakonssen.

View all 172 references / Add more references