Poorly saturated colors are closer to a pure grey than strongly saturated ones and, therefore, appear less “colorful”. Color saturation is effectively manipulated in the visual arts for balancing conflicting sensations and moods and for inducing the perception of relative distance in the pictorial plane. While perceptual science has proven quite clearly that the luminance contrast of any hue acts as a self-sufficient cue to relative depth in visual images, the role of color saturation in such figure-ground organization has remained (...) unclear. We presented configurations of colored inducers on grey ‘test’ backgrounds to human observers. Luminance and saturation of the inducers was uniform on each trial, but varied across trials. We ran two separate experimental tasks. In the relative background brightness task, perceptual judgments indicated whether the apparent brightness of the grey test background contrasted with, assimilated to, or appeared equal (no effect) to that of a comparison background with the same luminance contrast. Contrast polarity and its interaction with color saturation affected response proportions for contrast, assimilation and no effect. In the figure-ground task, perceptual judgments indicated whether the inducers appeared to lie in front of, behind, or in the same depth with the background. Strongly saturated inducers produced significantly larger proportions of foreground effects indicating that these inducers stand out as figure against the background. Weakly saturated inducers produced significantly larger proportions of background effects, indicating that these inducers are perceived as lying behind the backgrounds. We infer that color saturation modulates figure-ground organization, both directly by determining relative inducer depth, and indirectly, and in interaction with contrast polarity, by affecting apparent background brightness. The results point towards a hitherto undocumented functional role of color saturation in the genesis of form, and in particular figure-ground percepts in the absence of chromatostereopsis. (shrink)
We show that true colors as defined by Chevreul (1839) produce unsuspected simultaneous brightness induction effects on their immediate grey backgrounds when these are placed on a darker (black) general background surrounding two spatially separated configurations. Assimilation and apparent contrast may occur in one and the same stimulus display. We examined the possible link between these effects and the perceived depth of the color patterns which induce them as a function of their luminance contrast. Patterns of square-shaped inducers of a (...) single color (red, green, blue, yellow, or grey) were placed on background fields of a lighter and a darker grey, presented on a darker screen. Inducers were always darker on one side of the display and brighter on the other in a given trial. The intensity of the grey backgrounds varied between trials only. This permitted generating four inducer luminance contrasts, presented in random order, for each color. Background fields were either spatially separated or consisted of a single grey field on the black screen. Experiments were run under three environmental conditions: dark-adaptation, daylight, and rod-saturation after exposure to bright light. In a first task, we measured probabilities of contrast, assimilation, and no effect in a three-alternative forced-choice procedure (background appears brighter on the ‘left’, on the ‘right’ or the ‘same’). Visual adaptation and inducer contrast had no significant influence on the induction effects produced by colored inducers. Achromatic inducers produced significantly stronger contrast effects after dark-adaptation, and significantly stronger assimilation in daylight conditions. Grouping two backgrounds into a single one was found to significantly decrease probabilities of apparent contrast. Under the same conditions, we measured probabilities of the inducers to be perceived as nearer to the observer inducers. These, as predicted by Chevreul’s law of contrast, were determined by the luminance contrast of the inducers only, with significantly higher probabilities of brighter inducers to be seen as nearer, and a marked asymmetry between effects produced by inducers of opposite sign. Implications of these findings for theories which attempt to link simultaneous induction effects to the relative depth of object surfaces in the visual field are discussed. (shrink)
Luminance and color are strong and self-sufficient cues to pictorial depth in visual scenes and images. The present study investigates the conditions Under which luminance or color either strengthens or overrides geometric depth cues. We investigated how luminance contrasts associated with color contrast interact with relative height in the visual field, partial occlusion, and interposition in determining the probability that a given figure is perceived as ‘‘nearer’’ than another. Latencies of ‘‘near’’ responses were analyzed to test for effects of attentional (...) selection. Figures in a pair were supported by luminance contrast or isoluminant color contrast and combined with one of the three geometric cues. The results of Experiment 1 show that luminance contrasts associated with hue, when it does not interact with other hues, produces the same effects as achromatic luminance contrasts: The probability of‘‘near’’ increases with luminance contrast while the latencies for ‘‘near’’ responses decrease. Partial occlusion is found to be a strong enough pictorial cue to support a weaker red luminance contrast. Interposition cues lose out against cues of spatial position and partial occlusion. The results of Experiment 2, with isoluminant displays of varying color contrast, reveal that red color contrast on a light background supported by any of the three geometric cues wins over green or white supported by any of the three geometric cues. On a dark background, red color contrast supported by the interposition cue loses out against green or white color contrast supported by partial occlusion. These findings reveal that color is not an independent depth cue, but is strongly influenced by luminance contrast and stimulus geometry. Systematically shorter response latencies for stronger ‘‘near’’ percepts demonstrate that selective visual attention reliably detects the most likely depth cue combination in a given configuration. (shrink)
Although symmetry has been discussed in terms of a major law of perceptual organization since the early conceptual efforts of the Gestalt school (Wertheimer, Metzger, Koffka and others), the first quantitative measurements testing for effects of symmetry on processes of Gestalt formation have seen the day only recently. In this study, a psychophysical rating study and a “foreground”-“background” choice response time experiment were run with human observers to test for effects of bilateral symmetry on the perceived strength of figure-ground in (...) triangular Kanizsa configurations. Displays with and without bilateral symmetry, identical physically-specified-to-total contour ratio, and constant local contrast intensity within and across conditions, but variable local contrast polarity and variable orientation in the plane, were presented in a random order to human observers. Configurations with bilateral symmetry produced significantly stronger figure-ground percepts reflected by greater subjective magnitudes and consistently higher percentages of “foreground” judgments accompanied by significantly shorter response times. These effects of symmetry depend neither on the orientation of the axis of symmetry, nor on the contrast polarity of the physical inducers. It is concluded that bilateral symmetry, irrespective of orientation, significantly contributes to the, largely sign-invariant, visual mechanisms of figure-ground segregation that determine the salience of figure-ground in perceptually ambiguous configurations. (shrink)
In the field theories in physics, any particular region of the presumed space-time continuum and all interactions between elementary objects therein can be objectively measured and/or accounted for mathematically. Since this does not apply to any of thefield theories, or any other neural theory, of consciousness, their explanatory power is limited. As discussed in detail herein, the matter is complicated further by the facts than any scientifically operational definition of consciousness is inevitably partial, and that the phenomenon has no spatial (...) dimensionality. Under the light of insights from research on meditation and expanded consciousness, chronic pain syndrome, healthy aging, and eudaimonic well being, we may conceive consciousness as a source of potential energy that has no clearly defined spatial dimensionality, but can produce significant changes in others and in the world, observable in terms of changes in time. It is argued that consciousness may have evolved to enable the human species to generate such changes in order to cope with unprecedented and/or unpredictable adversity. Such coping could, ultimately, include the conscious planning of our own extinction when survival on the planet is no longer an acceptable option. (shrink)
While some are currently debating whether time may or may not be an illusion, others keep devoting their time to the science of consciousness. Time as such may be seen as a physical or a subjective variable, and the limitations in our capacity of perceiving and analyzing temporal order and change in physical events definitely constrain our understanding of consciousness which, in return, constrains our conceptual under-standing of time. Temporal codes generated in the brain have been considered as the key (...) to insight into neural function and, ultimately, as potential neural substrates of consciousness itself. On the basis of cur-rent evidence and opinion from neuroscience and philosophy, we consider the interrelation between con-sciousness and time in the light of Hegel and Heidegger’s concepts of Sein (Being) and Zeit (Time). We suggest that consciousness can be defined in terms of a succession of psychological moments where we realize that we exist in, and are part of, a present moment in time. This definition places all other percep-tual or sensorial processes which may characterize phenomenal experience at a different level of analysis and centers the debate around consciousness on the fundamental identity link between awareness of the Ich (I) and awareness of what Heidegger termed Ursprüngliche Zeit (original time). We argue that human consciousness has evolved from the ability to be aware of, to remember, and to predict temporal order and change in nature, and that the limits of this capacity are determined by limits in the functional plasticity of resonant brain mechanisms. Although the conscious state of the Self is the ultimate expression of this evolution, it is devoid of any adaptive function as such. (shrink)
The experiments reported herein probe the visual cortical mechanisms that control near–far percepts in response to two-dimensional stimuli. Figural contrast is found to be a principal factor for the emergence of percepts of near versus far in pictorial stimuli, especially when stimulus duration is brief. Pictorial factors such as interposition (Experiment 1) and partial occlusion Experiments 2 and 3) may cooperate, as generally predicted by cue combination models, or compete with contrast factors in the manner predicted by the FACADE model. (...) In particular, if the geometrical con guration of an image favors activation of cortical bipole grouping cells, as at the top of a T-junction, then this advantage can cooperate with the contrast of the con guration to facilitate a near–far percept at a lower contrast than at an X-junction. Varying the exposure duration of the stimuli shows that the more balanced bipole competition in the X-junction case takes longer exposure times to resolve than the bipole competition in the T-junction case (Experiment 3). (shrink)
The laws and principles which predict how perceptual qualities can be extracted from the most elementary visual signals were discovered by the Gestalt psychologists(e.g., Wertheimer,1923; Metzger,1930, translated and re-editedbySpillmann in 2009 and2012, respectively). Their seminal work has inspired visual science ever since, andhas led to exciting discoveries which have confirmed the Gestalt idea that the human brain would have an astonishing capacity for selecting and combining critical visual signals to generate output representations for decision making and action. This capacity of (...) selection and integration enables the perception of form and space, and the correct estimation of relative positions, trajectories, and distances of objects represented in planar images. This paper addresses problems of perceptual organization with critical implications for visual interfaces, and the design of surgical simulator platforms in particular. (shrink)
The laws which predict how the perceptual quality of figure-ground can be extracted from the most elementary visual signals were discovered by the Gestaltists, and form an essential part of their movement (see especially Metzger, 1930, and Wertheimer, 1923 translated and re-edited by Lothar Spillmann, 2009 and 2012, respectively). Distinguishing figure from ground is a prerequisite for perception of both form and space (the relative positions, trajectories, and distances of objects in the visual field. The human brain has an astonishing (...) capacity for selecting and combining a few critical visual signals to accurately represent both form and space. (shrink)
Following the pioneering studies of the receptive field (RF), the concept gained further significance for visual perception by the discovery of input effects from beyond the classical RF. These studies demonstrated that neuronal responses could be modulated by stimuli outside their RFs, consistent with the perception of induced brightness, color, orientation, and motion. Lesion scotomata are similarly modulated perceptually from the surround by RFs that have migrated from the interior to the outer edge of the scotoma and in this way (...) provide filling-in of the void. Large RFs are advantageous to this task. In higher visual areas, such as the middle temporal and inferotemporal lobe, RFs increase in size and lose most of their retinotopic organization while encoding increasingly complex features. Whereas lowerlevel RFs mediate perceptual filling-in, contour integration, and figure–ground segregation, RFs at higher levels serve the perception of grouping by common fate, biological motion, and other biologically relevant stimuli, such as faces. Studies in alert monkeys while freely viewing natural scenes showed that classical and nonclassical RFs cooperate in forming representations of the visual world. Today, our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the RF is undergoing a quantum leap. What had started out as a hierarchical feedforward concept for simple stimuli, such as spots, lines, and bars, now refers to mechanisms involving ascending, descending, and lateral signal flow. By extension of the bottom-up paradigm, RFs are nowadays understood as adaptive processors, enabling the predictive coding of complex scenes. Top-down effects guiding attention and tuned to task-relevant information complement the bottom-up analysis. (shrink)
The segregation of image parts into foreground and background is an important aspect of the neural computation of 3D scene perception. To achieve such segregation, the brain needs information about border ownership; that is, the belongingness of a contour to a specific surface represented in the image. This article presents psychophysical data derived from 3D percepts of figure and ground that were generated by presenting 2D images composed of spatially disjoint shapes that pointed inward or outward relative to the continuous (...) boundaries that they induced along their collinear edges. The shapes in some images had the same contrast (black or white) with respect to the background gray. Other images included opposite contrasts along each induced continuous boundary. Psychophysical results demonstrate conditions under which figure-ground judgment probabilities in response to these ambiguous displays are determined by the orientation of contrasts only, not by their relative contrasts, despite the fact that many border ownership cells in cortical area V2 respond to a preferred relative contrast. Studies are also reviewed in which both polarity-specific and polarity-invariant properties obtain perceptual figure-ground grouping results. The FACADE and 3D LAMINART models are used to explain these data. Keywords: figure-ground separation, border ownership, perceptual grouping, surface filling-in, V2, V4, FACADE Theory. (shrink)
Colour information not only helps sustain the survival of animal species by guiding sexual selection and foraging behaviour but also is an important factor in the cultural and technological development of our own species. This is illustrated by examples from the visual arts and from state-of-the-art imaging technology, where the strategic use of colour has become a powerful tool for guiding the planning and execution of interventional procedures. The functional role of colour information in terms of its potential benefits to (...) behavioural success across the species is addressed in the introduction here to clarify why colour perception may have evolved to generate behavioural success. It is argued that evolutionary and environmental pressures influence not only colour trait production in the different species but also their ability to process and exploit colour information for goal-specific purposes. We then leap straight to the human primate with insight from current research on the facilitating role of colour cues on performance training with precision technology for image-guided surgical planning and intervention. It is shown that local colour cues in two-dimensional images generated by a surgical fisheye camera help individuals become more precise rapidly across a limited number of trial sets in simulator training for specific manual gestures with a tool. This facilitating effect of a local colour cue on performance evolution in a video-controlled simulator (pick-and-place) task can be explained in terms of colour-based figure-ground segregation facilitating attention to local image parts when more than two layers of subjective surface depth are present, as in all natural and surgical images. (shrink)
The perceived strength of darkness enhancement in the centre of surfaces surrounded or not surrounded by illusory contours was investigated as a function of proximity of the constituent elements of the display and their angular size. Magnitude estimation was used to measure the perception of the darkness phenomenon in white-on-grey stimuli. Darkness enhancement was perceived in both types of the stimuli used, but more strongly in the presence of illusory contours. In both cases, perceived darkness enhancement increased with increasing proximity (...) of the constituent parts of the display and with their angular size. These results suggest that the occurrence of darkness (or brightness) enhancement phenomena in the centre of the displays is not directly related to illusory contours, which only reinforce the subjective surface brightness/darkness. (shrink)
Evolution and geometry generate complexity in similar ways. Evolution drives natural selection while geometry may capture the logic of this selection and express it visually, in terms of specific generic properties representing some kind of advantage. Geometry is ideally suited for expressing the logic of evolutionary selection for symmetry, which is found in the shape curves of vein systems and other natural objects such as leaves, cell membranes, or tunnel systems built by ants. The topology and geometry of symmetry is (...) controlled by numerical parameters, which act in analogy with a biological organism’s DNA. The introductory part of this paper reviews findings from experiments illustrating the critical role of two-dimensional (2D) design parameters, affine geometry and shape symmetry for visual or tactile shape sensation and perception-based decision making in populations of experts and non-experts. It will be shown that 2D fractal symmetry, referred to herein as the “symmetry of things in a thing”, results from principles very similar to those of affine projection. Results from experiments on aesthetic and visual preference judgments in response to 2D fractal trees with varying degrees of asymmetry are presented. In a first experiment (psychophysical scaling procedure), non-expert observers had to rate (on a scale from 0 to 10) the perceived beauty of a random series of 2D fractal trees with varying degrees of fractal symmetry. In a second experiment (two-alternative forced choice procedure), they had to express their preference for one of two shapes from the series. The shape pairs were presented successively in random order. Results show that the smallest possible fractal deviation from “symmetry of things in a thing” significantly reduces the perceived attractiveness of such shapes. The potential of future studies where different levels of complexity of fractal patterns are weighed against different degrees of symmetry is pointed out in the conclusion. (shrink)
Light increment thresholds were measured on either side of one of the illusory contours of a white-on-black Kanizsa square and on the illusory contour itself. The data show that thresholds are elevated when measured on either side of the illusory border. These elevations diminish with increasing distance of the target spot from the white elements which induce the illusory figure. The most striking result, however, is that threshold elevations are considerably lower or even absent when the target is located on (...) the illusory contour itself. At an equivalent position in a control figure where no illusory contour is visible, such a threshold decrease does not occur. The present observations add empirical support to neural theories of illusory form perception. (shrink)
Consciousness is known to be limited in processing capacity and often described in terms of a unique processing stream across a single dimension: time. In this paper, we discuss a purely temporal pattern code, functionally decoupled from spatial signals, for conscious state generation in the brain. Arguments in favour of such a code include Dehaene et al.’s long-distance reverberation postulate, Ramachandran’s remapping hypothesis, evidence for a temporal coherence index and coincidence detectors, and Grossberg’s Adaptive Resonance Theory. A time-bin resonance model (...) is developed, where temporal signatures of conscious states are generated on the basis of signal reverberation across large distances in highly plastic neural circuits. The temporal signatures are delivered by neural activity patterns which, beyond a certain statistical threshold, activate, maintain, and terminate a conscious brain state like a bar code would activate, maintain, or inactivate the electronic locks of a safe. Such temporal resonance would reflect a higher level of neural processing, one that is independent from sensorial or perceptual brain mechanisms. (shrink)
Symmetry in biological and physical systems is a product of self-organization driven by evolutionary processes, or mechanical systems under constraints. Symmetry-based feature extraction or representation by neural networks may unravel the most informative contents in large image databases. Despite significant achievements of artificial intelligence in recognition and classification of regular patterns, the problem of uncertainty remains a major challenge in ambiguous data. In this study, we present an artificial neural network that detects symmetry uncertainty states in human observers. To this (...) end, we exploit a neural network metric in the output of a biologically inspired Self- Organizing Map Quantization Error (SOM-QE). Shape pairs with perfect geometry mirror symmetry but a non-homogenous appearance, caused by local variations in hue, saturation, or lightness within and/or across the shapes in a given pair produce, as shown here, a longer choice response time (RT) for “yes” responses relative to symmetry. These data are consistently mirrored by the variations in the SOM-QE from unsupervised neural network analysis of the same stimulus images. The neural network metric is thus capable of detecting and scaling human symmetry uncertainty in response to patterns. Such capacity is tightly linked to the metric’s proven selectivity to local contrast and color variations in large and highly complex image data. (shrink)
The principle of self-organization has acquired a fundamental significance in the newly emerging field of computational philosophy. Self-organizing systems have been described in various domains in science and philosophy including physics, neuroscience, biology and medicine, ecology, and sociology. While system architecture and their general purpose may depend on domain-specific concepts and definitions, there are (at least) seven key properties of self-organization clearly identified in brain systems: 1) modular connectivity, 2) unsupervised learning, 3) adaptive ability, 4) functional resiliency, 5) functional plasticity, (...) 6) from-local-to-global functional organization, and 7) dynamic system growth. These are defined here in the light of insight from neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience and Adaptive Resonance Theory (ART), and physics to show that self-organization achieves stability and functional plasticity while minimizing structural system complexity. A specific example informed by empirical research is discussed to illustrate how modularity, adaptive learning, and dynamic network growth enable stable yet plastic somatosensory representation for human grip force control. Implications for the design of “strong” artificial intelligence in robotics are brought forward. (shrink)
Victor Vasarely's (1906–1997) important legacy to the study of human perception is brought to the forefront and discussed. A large part of his impressive work conveys the appearance of striking three-dimensional shapes and structures in a large-scale pictorial plane. Current perception science explains such effects by invoking brain mechanisms for the processing of monocular (2D) depth cues. Here in this study, we illustrate and explain local effects of 2D color and contrast cues on the perceptual organization in terms of figure-ground (...) assignments, i.e. which local surfaces are likely to be seen as “nearer” or “bigger” in the image plane. Paired configurations are embedded in a larger, structurally ambivalent pictorial context inspired by some of Vasarely's creations. The figure-ground effects these configurations produce reveal a significant correlation between perceptual solutions for “nearer” and “bigger” when other geometric depth cues are missing. In consistency with previous findings on similar, albeit simpler visual displays, a specific color may compete with luminance contrast to resolve the planar ambiguity of a complex pattern context at a critical point in the hierarchical resolution of figure-ground uncertainty. The potential role of color temperature in this process is brought forward here. Vasarely intuitively understood and successfully exploited the subtle context effects accounted for in this paper, well before empirical investigation had set out to study and explain them in terms of information processing by the visual brain. (shrink)
Global society issues are putting increasing pressure on both small and large organizations to communicate ethically at all levels. Achieving this requires social skills beyond the choice of language or vocabulary and relies above all on individual social responsibility. Arguments from social contract philosophy and speech act theory lead to consider a communication contract that identifies the necessary individual skills for ethical communication on the basis of a limited number of explicit clauses. These latter are pragmatically binding for all partners (...) involved and help to ensure that the ground rules of cooperative communication are observed within a group or an organization. Beyond promoting ethical communication, the communication contract clarifies how individual discursive behaviour can be constructively and ethically monitored by group leaders in business meetings. A case study which shows what may happen when ground clauses of ethical communication are violated is presented. The conclusions of the study highlights why attempting to respect the communication contract is in the best interest of all partners at all levels within any group or organization. (shrink)
The 18th-century Scottish ‘common sense’ philosopher Thomas Reid argued that perception can be distinguished on several dimensions from other categories of experience, such as sensation, illusion, hallucination, mental images, and what he called ‘fancy.’ We extend his approach to eleven mental categories, and discuss how these distinctions, often ignored in the empirical literature, bear on current research. We also score each category on five properties (ones abstracted from Reid) to form a 5 × 11 matrix, and thus can generate statistical (...) measures of their mutual dependencies, a procedure that may have general interest as illustrating what we can call ‘computational philosophy.’. (shrink)
Detection thresholds for a small light spot were measured at various distances from the colinear inucer edges of white inducing elements on a dark background. The data show that thresholds are elevated when the target is located close to one or more inducing element(s). Threshold elevations diminish with increasing distance of the target from colinear edges and decreasing surface size of the inducing elements. gradients show the same tendencies. Tbe present observations add empirical support to the idea that illusory figures (...) are determined by local mechanisms that operate at early stages of perceptual information processing and decision. (shrink)
Scientific studies have shown that non-conscious stimuli and représentations influence information processing during conscious experience. In the light of such evidence, questions about potential functional links between non-conscious brain representations and conscious experience arise. This article discusses models capable of explaining how statistical learning mechanisms in dedicated resonant circuits could generate specific temporal activity traces of non-conscious representations in the brain. How reentrant signaling, top-down matching, and statistical coincidence of such activity traces may lead to the progressive consolidation of neural (...) signatures of conscious experience in networks extending across large distances beyond functionally specialized brain regions is then explained. (shrink)
By reviewing most of the neurobiology of consciousness, this article highlights some major reasons why a successful emulation of the dynamics of human consciousness by artificial intelligence is unlikely. The analysis provided leads to conclude that human consciousness is epigenetically determined and experience and context-dependent at the individual level. It is subject to changes in time that are essentially unpredictable. If cracking the code to human consciousness were possible, the result would most likely have to consist of a temporal pattern (...) code simulating long-distance signal reverberation and de-correlation of all spatial signal contents from temporal signals. In the light of the massive evidence for complex interactions between implicit (non-conscious) and explicit (conscious) contents of representation, the code would have to be capable of making implicit (non-conscious) processes explicit. It would have to be capable of a progressively less and less arbitrary selection of temporal activity patterns in a continuously developing neural network structure identical to that of the human brain, from the synaptic level to that of higher cognitive functions. The code’s activation thresholds would depend on specific temporal signal coincidence probabilities, vary considerably with time and across individual experience data, and would therefore require dynamically adaptive computations capable of emulating the properties of individual human experience. No known machine or neural network learning approach has such potential. (shrink)
Lehar's Gestalt Bubble model introduces a computational approach to holistic aspects of three-dimensional scene perception. The model as such has merit because it manages to translate certain Gestalt principles of perceptual organization into formal codes or algorithms. The mistake made in this target article is to present the model within the theoretical framework of the question of consciousness. As a scientific approach to the problem of consciousness, the Gestalt Bubble fails for several reasons. This commentary addresses three of these: (1) (...) the terminology surrounding the concept of consciousness is not rigorously defined; (2) it is not made evident that three-dimensional scene perception requires consciousness at all; and (3) it is not clearly explained by which mechanism(s) the “picture-in-the-head,” supposedly represented in the brain, would be made available to different levels of awareness or consciousness. Footnotes1 After Shakespeare, Macbeth. (shrink)
A simple working taxonomy with three classes of pictorial completion is proposed as an alternative to Pessoa et al.'s classification: area, surface, and contour completion. The classification is based on psychophysical evidence, not on the different phenomenal attributes of the stimuli, showing that pictorial completion is likely to involve mechanistic interactions in the visual system at different levels of processing. Whether the concept of “filling-in” is an appropriate metaphor for the visual mechanisms that may underlie perceptual completion is questioned.
How the visual systems of different species enable them to detect and discriminate colour patterns and how such visual abilities contribute to their survival is discussed. The influence of evolutionary and environmental pressures on both perceptual capacity and colour trait production is to be considered. Visual systems with different functional anatomy have evolved in response to such pressures.
The heuristic value of Pylyshyn's cognitive impenetrability theory is questioned in this commentary, mainly because, as it stands, the key argument cannot be challenged empirically. Pylyshyn requires unambiguous evidence for an effect of cognitive states on early perceptual mechanisms, which is impossible to provide because we can only infer what might happen at these earlier levels of processing on the basis of evidence collected at the post-perceptual stage. Furthermore, the theory that early visual processes cannot be modified by cognitive states (...) implies that it is totally pointless to try to investigate interactions between consciousness and neurosensory processes. (shrink)
In psychophysical experiments, the use of a psychophysical procedure of brightness/darkness cancellation shed light on interactions between spatial arrangement and figure–ground contrast in the perceptual filling in of achromatic and colored surfaces.Achromatic and chromatic Kanizsa squares with varying contrast, contrast polarity, and inducer spacingwere used to test how these factors interact in the perceptual filling in of surface brightness or darkness. The results suggest that the neuronal processing of surfaces with apparent contrast, leading to figure–ground segregation (i.e., perceptual organization), is (...) governed by mechanisms that integrate both luminance contrast and spatial information carried by the inducing stimuli, while discarding information on contrast polarity or color. The findings are discussed in relation to earlier observations on brightness assimilation and contrast. They support theories of nonantagonistic neural mechanisms suppressing local contrast or color signs in brightnessbased figure–ground percepts. Such mechanismsmight be necessary to cancel potentially conflicting polarities in geometricallycomplex visual stimuli so that perceptual filling in resulting in the most plausible representation of figure and ground can be achieved. (shrink)
This article presents psychophysical evidence that the Kanizsa Square does not produce an 'object superiority effect' previously reported in similar Gestalt configurations. Implications of the findings for Gestalt theory are addressed.
We question the ecological plausibility as a general model of cognition of van der Velde's & de Kamps's combinatorial blackboard architecture, where knowledge-binding in space and time relies on the structural rules of language. Evidence against their view of the brain and an ecologically plausible, alternative model of cognition are brought forward.
Shepard's concept of internalization does not suggest mechanisms which help to understand how the brain adapts to changes, how representations of a steadily changing environment are updated or, in short, how brain learning continues throughout life. Neural mechanisms, as suggested by Barlow, may prove a more powerful alternative. Brain theories such as Adaptive Resonance Theory (ART) propose mechanisms to explain how representational activities may be linked in space and time. Some predictions of ART are confirmed by psychophysical and neurophysiological data. (...) [Barlow; Shepard]. (shrink)
In this collection, philosophers, social psychologists, and social scientists approach contemporary social reality from the viewpoint of solidarity. They examine the nature of solidarity and explore its normative and explanatory potential.