How culture works with evolution to produce human cognition | Aeon Essays
There is enough information in our environment to make sense of the world in a direct way. For Gibson: sensation is perception: what you see if what you get. There is no need for processing interpretation as the information we receive about size, shape and distance etc. Gibson argued that perception is a bottom-up process, which means that sensory information is analyzed in one direction: from simple analysis of raw sensory data to ever increasing complexity of analysis through the visual system.
This optic array provides unambiguous information about the layout of objects in space. Light rays reflect off of surfaces and converge into the cornea of your eye. Because of movement and different intensities of light shining in different directions it is an ever changing source of sensory information. Therefore, if you move, the structure of the optic array changes. According to Gibson, we have the mechanisms to interpret this unstable sensory input, meaning we experience a stable and meaningful view of the world.
Changes in the flow of the optic array contain important information about what type of movement is taking place.
HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK?
The flow of the optic array will either move from or towards a particular point. If the flow appears to be coming from the point, it means you are moving towards it. If the optic array is moving towards the point you are moving away from it. They supply us with crucial information. Another invariant is the horizon-ratio relation. The ratio above and below the horizon is constant for objects of the same size standing on the same ground. Are, in short, cues in the environment that aid perception.
Important cues in the environment include:. Gives the impression of surfaces receding into the distance. Objects with smaller images are seen as more distant. A large number of applications can be applied in terms of his theory e. His theory is reductionist as it seeks to explain perception solely in terms of the environment. There is strong evidence to show that the brain and long term memory can influence perception.
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Gibson's emphasis on DIRECT perception provides an explanation for the generally fast and accurate perception of the environment. However, his theory cannot explain why perceptions are sometimes inaccurate, e. He claimed the illusions used in experimental work constituted extremely artificial perceptual situations unlikely to be encountered in the real world, however this dismissal cannot realistically be applied to all illusions.
For example, Gibson's theory cannot account for perceptual errors like the general tendency for people to overestimate vertical extents relative to horizontal ones. Neither can Gibson's theory explain naturally occurring illusions. For example if you stare for some time at a waterfall and then transfer your gaze to a stationary object, the object appears to move in the opposite direction.
Neither direct nor constructivist theories of perception seem capable of explaining all perception all of the time. Gibson's theory appears to be based on perceivers operating under ideal viewing conditions, where stimulus information is plentiful and is available for a suitable length of time. Constructivist theories, like Gregory's, have typically involved viewing under less than ideal conditions.
Research by Tulving et al manipulated both the clarity of the stimulus input and the impact of the perceptual context in a word identification task. As clarity of the stimulus through exposure duration and the amount of context increased, so did the likelihood of correct identification.
However, as the exposure duration increased, so the impact of context was reduced, suggesting that if stimulus information is high, then the need to use other sources of information is reduced. One theory that explains how top-down and bottom-up processes may be seen as interacting with each other to produce the best interpretation of the stimulus was proposed by Neisser - known as the 'Perceptual Cycle'.
DeCasper, A. Of human bonding: Newborns prefer their mothers' voices. Science , , Gibson, J. The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems. Boston:Houghton Mifflin. A Theory of Direct Visual Perception. Royce, W. Rozenboom Eds. The Psychology of Knowing. Gregory, R. Concepts and Mechanisms of Perception. London: Duckworth.
Slater, A. Newborn and older infants' perception of partly occluded objects. Infant Behavior and Development , 13 1 , McLeod, S. Visual perception theory. Toggle navigation. Highly unlikely objects tend to be mistaken for likely objects. Perceptions can be ambiguous. It becomes unstable and a single physical pattern can produce two perceptions.
Perception allows behavior to be generally appropriate to non-sensed object characteristics. The optic array. Invariant Features. Two good examples of invariants are texture and linear perspective. Visual Perception. The authors studied the use of time and space in Hungarian peasant society. In many aspects the areas of linguistics and anthropology developed parallelly, in close interaction with one another. Amongst many of his significant discoveries, Hall points out that man and his environment are in constant interaction with one another.
Our representations of space are not primarily based on objective reality, instead they are determined by subjective perceptions of reality. In the field of cognitive mapping the results of radically different scientific approaches, such as linguistics, psychology and geography, have mutually influenced one another. The situation is further complicated by the fact that information is only available with systematic or random error in our minds.
During the past decade a number of new approaches and analytical algorithms have emerged, however the overview of corresponding theoretical frameworks exceeds the aims of present book. Characteristically, applied research is rarely based on the most up-to-date theoretical developments, instead it draws on already established scientific observations.
Gregory (1970) and Top Down Processing Theory
As present handbook aims to provide a sound basis for the practice of cognitive mapping, we shall proceed to present methodological issues that reach back to the inception of mental maps, that is the works of Lynch, Downs and Gould. There are several reasons why the methodology of cognitive mapping is still in the making. On one hand, its interdisciplinary character grants a great deal of freedom in methodological experimentation.
From a negative perspective, this means that there is no single theoretical framework that could serve as a point of departure for evolving methodology. Furthermore, one must not forget that the improved conditions ensured by computerized support were rather slow in impacting the processing of map-like data, whereas in other research areas they caused rapid methodological erosion. Maps and spatial information are predominantly image-based data and complex images can only be handled as databases by the most advanced computers.
Figure 6. Three dimensional visualization of fear based on maps drawn by individuals selected from six ethnic districts of Los Angeles, by Matei Sorin www. The MME survey is divided in two parts. In the first phase people are asked questions about their environment and they can give any answer. In the second phase they are shown a map and they need to point out where the earlier mentioned categories are on this map. Finally, the program analyses and visualizes the collected data and the software is also capable of writing a report.
It is a basic principle that only information the interviewees themselves would reveal, can be published. The question, concerning what type of data should be collected during the research, may seem like a methodological dilemma, however it can also be answered on an ethical basis.
From an ethical aspect, it is unthinkable to present a picture of people that they do not acknowledge themselves. This rule can be relatively easily observed. Another important issue relates to the confidential handling of collected data. If a clumsily drawn mental map somehow finds its way back into the natural surroundings of the interviewee, then he will become a subject of ridicule in front of his friends, as well as strangers.