How to (and how not to) think about top-down influences on visual perception

Consciousness and Cognition 47:17-25 (2017)
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Abstract

The question of whether cognition can influence perception has a long history in neuroscience and philosophy. Here, we outline a novel approach to this issue, arguing that it should be viewed within the framework of top-down information-processing. This approach leads to a reversal of the standard explanatory order of the cognitive penetration debate: we suggest studying top-down processing at various levels without preconceptions of perception or cognition. Once a clear picture has emerged about which processes have influences on those at lower levels, we can re-address the extent to which they should be considered perceptual or cognitive. Using top-down processing within the visual system as a model for higher-level influences, we argue that the current evidence indicates clear constraints on top-down influences at all stages of information processing; it does, however, not support the notion of a boundary between specific types of information-processing as proposed by the cognitive impenetrability hypothesis.

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Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp

References found in this work

Vision.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.
The Illusion of Conscious Will.Daniel M. Wegner - 2002 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Between Perception and Action.Bence Nanay - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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