This article defends the claim that a significant part of visual perception (called “early vision”) is impervious to the influence of beliefs, expectations or knowledge. We examine a wide range of empirical evidence that has been cited in support of the continuity of vision and cognition and argue that the evidence either shows within- vision top-down effects, or else the extra-visual effects that are demonstrated occur before the operation of the autonomous early vision system (through the allocation of focal attention) or after the visual system has produced its 3D shape-description (through the intervention of post-visual decision processes).
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