Suppose you have recently gained a disposition for recognizing a high-level kind property, like the property of being a wren. Wrens might look different to you now. According to the Phenomenal Contrast Argument, such cases of perceptuallearning show that the contents of perception can include high-level kind properties such as the property of being a wren. I detail an alternative explanation for the different look of the wren: a shift in one’s attentional pattern onto other low-level properties. (...) Philosophers have alluded to this alternative before, but I provide a comprehensive account of the view, show how my account significantly differs from past claims, and offer a novel argument for the view. Finally, I show that my account puts us in a position to provide a new objection to the Phenomenal Contrast Argument. (shrink)
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions that arose from the Network for Sensory Research workshop on perceptuallearning and perceptual recognition at the University of York in March, 2012. This portion of the report explores the question: What is perceptuallearning?
The cognitive penetrability of perceptual experiences has been a long-standing topic of disagreement among philosophers and psychologists. Although the notion of cognitive penetrability itself has also been under dispute, the debate has mainly focused on the cases in which cognitive states allegedly penetrate perceptual experiences. This paper concerns the plausibility of two prominent cases. The first one originates from Susanna Siegel’s claim that perceptual experiences can represent natural kind properties. If this is true, then the concepts we (...) possess change the way things appear to us. The second candidate for cognitive penetration is Fiona Macpherson’s claim that, in addition to concepts, our beliefs can penetrate perceptual experiences. It is argued that neither candidate is a case of cognitive penetration. In doing so, I provide an explanation to both that is based on perceptuallearning, a non-cognitive phenomenon where relatively slow and long-lasting modifications to an organism’s perceptual system bring about changes in perception. This explanation is theoretically more plausible and remains closer to the empirical data than the explanations based on cognitive penetration. (shrink)
Proponents of cognitive penetration often argue for the thesis on the basis of combined intuitions about categorical perception and perceptuallearning. The claim is that beliefs penetrate perceptions in the course of learning to perceive categories. I argue that this “diachronic” penetration thesis is false. In order to substantiate a robust notion of penetration, the beliefs that enable learning must describe the particular ability that subjects learn. However, they cannot do so, since in order to help (...) with learning they must instruct learners to employ previously existing abilities. I argue that a better approach recognizes that we can have sophisticated causal precursors to perceptuallearning, but that the learning process itself must operate outside of cognitive influence. (shrink)
Learning in educational settings most often emphasizes declarative and procedural knowledge. Studies of expertise, however, point to other, equally important components of learning, especially improvements produced by experience in the extraction of information: Perceptuallearning. Here we describe research that combines principles of perceptuallearning with computer technology to address persistent difficulties in mathematics learning. We report three experiments in which we developed and tested perceptuallearning modules to address issues of (...) structure extraction and fluency in relation to algebra and fractions. PLMs focus students’ learning on recognizing and discriminating, or mapping key structures across different representations or transformations. Results showed significant and persisting learning gains for students using PLMs. PLM technology offers promise for addressing neglected components of learning: Pattern recognition, structural intuition, and fluency. Using PLMs as a complement to other modes of instruction may allow students to overcome chronic problems in learning. (shrink)
Experts from wine tasters to radiologists to bird watchers have all undergone perceptuallearning-long-term changes in perception that result from practice or experience. Philosophers have been discussing such cases for centuries, from the 14th-century Indian philosopher Vedanta Desika to the 18th-century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid, and into contemporary times. -/- This book uses recent evidence from psychology and neuroscience to show that perceptuallearning is genuinely perceptual, rather than post-perceptual. It also offers a taxonomy (...) for classifying cases in the philosophical literature. In some cases, perceptuallearning involves changes in how one attends; in other cases, it involves a learned ability to differentiate two properties, or to perceive two properties as unified. Connolly uses this taxonomy to rethink several domains of perception in terms of perceptuallearning, including multisensory perception, color perception, and speech perception. -/- As a whole, the book offers a theory of the function of perceptuallearning. Perceptuallearning embeds into our quick perceptual systems what would be a slower task were it to be done in a controlled, cognitive manner. A novice wine taster drinking a Cabernet Sauvignon might have to think about its features first and then infer the type of wine, while an expert can identify it immediately. This learned ability to immediately identify the wine enables the expert to think about other things like the vineyard or the vintage of the wine. More generally, perceptuallearning serves to free up cognitive resources for other tasks. This book offers a comprehensive empirically-informed account, and explores the nature, scope, and theoretical implications of perceptuallearning. (shrink)
First impressions suggest the following contrast between perception and memory: perception generates new beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs; memory preserves old beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs. In this paper, I argue that reflection on perceptuallearning gives us reason to adopt an alternative picture on which perception plays both generative and preservative epistemic roles.
Perceptual experiences are not immediately responsive to reasons. You see a stick submerged in a glass of water as bent no matter how much you know about light refraction. Due to this isolation from reasons, perception is traditionally considered outside the scope of epistemic evaluability as justified or unjustified. Is perception really as independent from reasons as visual illusions make it out to be? I argue no, drawing on psychological evidence from perceptuallearning. The flexibility of (...) class='Hi'>perceptuallearning is a way of responding to new epistemic reasons. The resulting perceptual experiences are epistemically evaluable as justified or unjustified. (shrink)
Cognitive penetration of perception, broadly understood, is the influence that the cognitive system has on a perceptual system. The paper shows a form of cognitive penetration in the visual system which I call ‘architectural’. Architectural cognitive penetration is the process whereby the behaviour or the structure of the perceptual system is influenced by the cognitive system, which consequently may have an impact on the content of the perceptual experience. I scrutinize a study in perceptuallearning (...) that provides empirical evidence that cognitive influences in the visual system produce neural reorganization in the primary visual cortex. The type of cognitive penetration can be synchronic and diachronic. (shrink)
Perceptuallearning is an enduring change in the perceptual system – and our resulting perceptions – due to practice or repeated exposure to a perceptual stimulus. It is involved in the acquisition of perceptual expertise: the ability to make rapid and reliable high-level categorizations of objects unavailable to novices. Attentional weighting is one process by which perceptuallearning occurs. Advancing our understanding of this process is of particular importance for understanding what is learned (...) in perceptuallearning. Attentional weighting seems to favour the hypothesis that what experts learn is simply to better direct their attention to elements of the stimulus relevant to making post-perceptual categorizations. Here I argue against this hypothesis. Attentional weighting is an integral component of the process that allows experts to come to represent high-level properties in perceptual experience. (shrink)
It has been argued that some recent experimental findings about the mere exposure effect can be used to argue for aesthetic antirealism: the view that there is no fact of the matter about aesthetic value. The aim of this paper is to assess this argument and point out that this strategy, as it stands, does not work. But we may still be able to use experimental findings about the mere exposure effect in order to engage with the aesthetic realism/antirealism debate. (...) However, this argument would need to proceed very differently and would only support a much more modest version of aesthetic antirealism. (shrink)
We report on rapid perceptuallearning of intonation contour categories in adults and 9- to 11-year-old children. Intonation contours are temporally extended patterns, whose perception requires temporal integration and therefore poses significant working memory challenges. Both children and adults form relatively abstract representations of intonation contours: Previously encountered and novel exemplars are categorized together equally often, as long as distance from the prototype is controlled. However, age-related differences in categorization performance also exist. Given the same experience, adults form (...) narrower categories than children. In addition, adults pay more attention to the end of the contour, while children appear to pay equal attention to the beginning and the end. The age range we examine appears to capture the tail-end of the developmental trajectory for learning intonation contour categories: There is a continuous effect of age on category breadth within the child group, but the oldest children are adult-like. (shrink)
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions that arose from the Network for Sensory Research workshop on perceptuallearning and perceptual recognition at the University of York in March, 2012. This portion of the report explores the question: Can perceptual experience be modified by reason?
This is an excerpt from a report that highlights and explores five questions which arose from the workshop on perceptuallearning and perceptual recognition at the University of Toronto, Mississauga on May 10th and 11th, 2012. This excerpt explores the question: How should we demarcate perceptuallearning from perceptual development?
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions that arose from the Network for Sensory Research workshop on perceptuallearning and perceptual recognition at the University of York in March, 2012. This portion of the report explores the question: How does perceptuallearning alter perceptual phenomenology?
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions that arose from the Network for Sensory Research workshop on perceptuallearning and perceptual recognition at the University of York in March, 2012. This portion of the report explores the question: How does perceptuallearning alter the contents of perception?
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions that arose from the Network for Sensory Research workshop on perceptuallearning and perceptual recognition at the University of York in March, 2012. This portion of the report explores the question: How is perceptuallearning coordinated with action?
Aesthetic non-cognitivists deny that aesthetic statements express genuinely aesthetic beliefs and instead hold that they work primarily to express something non-cognitive, such as attitudes of approval or disapproval, or desire. Non-cognitivists deny that aesthetic statements express aesthetic beliefs because they deny that there are aesthetic features in the world for aesthetic beliefs to represent. Their assumption, shared by scientists and theorists of mind alike, was that language-users possess cognitive mechanisms with which to objectively grasp abstract rules fixed independently of human (...) responses, and that cognizers are thereby capable of grasping rules for the correct application of aesthetic concepts without relying on evaluation or enculturation. However, in this article I use Wittgenstein’s rule-following considerations to argue that psychological theories grounded upon this so-called objective model of rule-following fail to adequately account for concept acquisition and mastery. I argue that this is because linguistic enculturation, and the perceptuallearning that’s often involved, influences and enables the mastery of aesthetic concepts. I argue that part of what’s involved in speaking aesthetically is to belong to a cultural practice of making sense of things aesthetically, and that it’s within a socio-linguistic community, and that community’s practices, that such aesthetic sense can be made intelligible. (shrink)
In recent epistemology many philosophers have adhered to a moderate foundationalism according to which some beliefs do not depend on other beliefs for their justification. Reliance on such ‘basic beliefs’ pervades both internalist and externalist theories of justification. In this article I argue that the phenomenon of perceptuallearning – the fact that certain ‘expert’ observers are able to form more justified basic beliefs than novice observers – constitutes a challenge for moderate foundationalists. In order to accommodate (...) class='Hi'>perceptuallearning cases, the moderate foundationalist will have to characterize the ‘expertise’ of the expert observer in such a way that it cannot be had by novice observers and that it bestows justification on expert basic beliefs independently of any other justification had by the expert. I will argue that the accounts of expert basic beliefs currently present in the literature fail to meet this challenge, as they either result in a too liberal ascription of justification or fail to draw a clear distinction between expert basic beliefs and other spontaneously formed beliefs. Nevertheless, some guidelines for a future solution will be provided. (shrink)
When a user integrates a sensory substitution device into her life, the process involves perceptuallearning, that is, ‘relatively long-lasting changes to an organism’s perceptual system that improve its ability to respond to its environment’ (Goldstone 1998: 585). In this paper, I explore ways in which the extensive literature on perceptuallearning can be applied to help improve sensory substitution devices. I then use these findings to answer a philosophical question. Much of the philosophical debate (...) surrounding sensory substitution devices concerns what happens after perceptuallearning occurs. In particular, should the resultant perceptual experience be classified in the substituted modality (as vision), in the substituting modality (as auditory or tactile), or in a new sense modality? I propose a novel empirical test to help resolve this philosophical debate. (shrink)
Seeing a red hat can (i) increase my credence in the hat is red, and (ii) introduce a negative dependence between that proposition and po- tential undermining defeaters such as the light is red. The rigidity of Jeffrey Conditionalization makes this awkward, as rigidity preserves inde- pendence. The picture is less awkward given ‘Holistic Conditionalization’, or so it is claimed. I defend Jeffrey Conditionalization’s consistency with underminable perceptuallearning and its superiority to Holistic Conditionalization, arguing that the latter (...) is merely a special case of the former, is itself rigid, and is committed to implausible accounts of perceptual con- firmation and of undermining defeat. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe six basic emotions have long been considered discrete categories that serve as the primary units of the emotion system. Yet recent evidence indicated underlying connections among them. Here we tested the underlying relationships among the six basic emotions using a perceptuallearning procedure. This technique has the potential of causally changing participants’ emotion detection ability. We found that training on detecting a facial expression improved the performance not only on the trained expression but also on other expressions. (...) Such a transfer effect was consistently demonstrated between disgust and anger detection as well as between fear and surprise detection in two experiments. Notably, training on any of the six emotions could improve happiness detection, while sadness detection could only be improved by training on sadness itself, suggesting the uniqueness of happiness and sadness.... (shrink)
In The Principles of Psychology, William James (1981) has long ago suggested that attending to a stimulus can make it appear more ‘vivid and clear.’ Pre-cueing, the procedure in which a cue stimulus is presented to direct a subject’s attention to the location of a test stimulus, has been used to test James’ hypothesis (Posner, 1978; Carrasco et al., 2004; Carrasco, Loula, & Ho, 2006; Yeshurun & Rashal, 2010; Carrasco, 2011). One recent debate concerns whether the effects of pre-cueing and (...) other perceptual changes associated with covert attention are evidence for cognitive penetration. In this paper, we argue that the pre-cueing effects associated with covert attention are similar to perceptuallearning effects, despite the former having more transient effects than the latter. -/- . (shrink)
As I head home from work, I’m not sure whether my daughter’s new bike is green, and I’m also not sure whether I’m on drugs that distort my color perception. One thing that I am sure about is that my attitudes towards those possibilities are evidentially independent of one another, in the sense that changing my confidence in one shouldn’t affect my confidence in the other. When I get home and see the bike it looks green, so I increase my (...) confidence that it is green. But something else has changed: now an increase in my confidence that I’m on color-drugs would undermine my confidence that the bike is green. Jonathan Weisberg and Jim Pryor argue that the preceding story is problematic for standard Bayesian accounts of perceptuallearning. Due to the ‘rigidity’ of Conditionalization, a negative probabilistic correlation between two propositions cannot be introduced by updating on one of them. Hence if my beliefs about my own color-sobriety start out independent of my beliefs about the color of the bike, then they must remain independent after I have my perceptual experience and update accordingly. Weisberg takes this to be a reason to reject Conditionalization. I argue that this conclusion is too pessimistic: Conditionalization is only part of the Bayesian story of perceptuallearning, and the other part needn’t preserve independence. Hence Bayesian accounts of perceptuallearning are perfectly consistent with potential underminers for perceptual beliefs. (shrink)
Tested the 2-process theory of detection, search, and attention presented by the current authors in a series of experiments. The studies demonstrate the qualitative difference between 2 modes of information processing: automatic detection and controlled search; trace the course of the learning of automatic detection, of categories, and of automatic-attention responses; and show the dependence of automatic detection on attending responses and demonstrate how such responses interrupt controlled processing and interfere with the focusing of attention. The learning of (...) categories is shown to improve controlled search performance. A general framework for human information processing is proposed. The framework emphasizes the roles of automatic and controlled processing. The theory is compared to and contrasted with extant models of search and attention. (shrink)
Perceptuallearning can be defined as practice-induced improvement in the ability to perform specific perceptual tasks. We previously proposed the Reverse Hierarchy Theory as a unifying concept that links behavioral findings of visual learning with physiological and anatomical data. Essentially, it asserts that learning is a top-down guided process, which begins at high-level areas of the visual system, and when these do not suffice, progresses backwards to the input levels, which have a better signal-to-noise ratio. (...) This simple concept has proved powerful in explaining a broad range of findings, including seemingly contradicting data. We now extend this concept to describe the dynamics of skill acquisition and interpret recent behavioral and electrophysiological findings. (shrink)