We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Perception: Brain integrates features directly to patterns
News

Perception: Brain integrates features directly to patterns

Perception: Brain integrates features directly to patterns
News

Perception: Brain integrates features directly to patterns

Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Perception: Brain integrates features directly to patterns "

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Analyzing the complexity of our perception -


Does our brain perceive objects initially as a conglomeration of shapes, colors and patterns or does it instantly recognize the entire structure? An article by Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) philosopher Prof. Dr. Albert Newen provides the answer.


See Also: Brain balances perception and action when caught in an illusion


A laptop or a cluster of shapes?

There is a thing on the desk. It is open, grey on the outside and black on the inside, has many small square bumps on its horizontal side, and on its vertical side a smooth, reflecting surface. A laptop. But do we really see that thing as a laptop? Or do we see shapes, colors, edges etc., while our brain completes our perception by making use of rational inferences to reach the conclusion that the thing is a laptop? In other words: how intelligent are our perception processes? Prof. Dr. Albert Newen from the Institute for Philosophy II at RUB investigates this question in his latest article which was published in the journal Synthese.


Features produce a pattern

His conclusion: our perception processes are organized in such a manner that they can construct complex contents. Accordingly, we do not initially perceive a laptop as a conglomeration of shapes and colors, but instantly see it as the object that it is. Newen's explanation: the lack of certain features in a drawing, for example, does not prevent us from seeing the item. During the perception process, our brain is able to integrate a few typical features to a complex pattern. "This takes place immediately when the object is spotted. Consequently, if an individual is trained in recognizing patterns, their perceptions may become richer and richer," says Newen. A chess expert would see the chessboard in a different way than a beginner, because he activates relevant structured patterns automatically as background knowledge, and that knowledge affects the perception process. This also takes place during social perception of other people.


Learn More: Study helps fill in gaps in our visual perception


Perception of complex patterns makes evolutionary sense

But where is the evidence that we actually see complex contents as such and that they are not merely an element of our linguistic judgement? Newen: "Perceiving certain contents is of such vital evolutionary importance for us that it is even present in infants who lack concept formation and language." Such contents include emotions such as fear and anger. The ability to quickly perceive emotion patterns based on the facial expression and body language of another person is crucial for social animals like humans. Prof Newen described further evidence indicating that complex contents are perceived as such in neuroscientific studies. "The structure and speed of information processing suggest that they are aspects of perception rather than aspects of a judgment," concludes the philosophy professor.


Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Ruhr University Bochum   press release


Publication

Newen A. Defending the liberal-content view of perceptual experience: direct social perception of emotions and person impressions.   Synthese, Published Online February 20 2016. doi: 10.1007/s11229-016-1030-3


Advertisement