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Perception and Its Modalities$
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Dustin Stokes, Mohan Matthen, and Stephen Biggs

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199832798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199832798.001.0001

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Distinguishing Top-Down from Bottom-Up Effects

Distinguishing Top-Down from Bottom-Up Effects

Chapter:
(p.73) 3 Distinguishing Top-Down from Bottom-Up Effects
Source:
Perception and Its Modalities
Author(s):

Nicholas Shea

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199832798.003.0004

Experimental psychology often relies on a distinction between top-down and bottom-up effects. This distinction is problematic because top-down effects are poorly defined. Specifically, top-down effects are defined as effects of previously stored information on processing of current input, which is far too broad since it includes dispositions to transition from some types of representational states to others, which are implicit in the operation of any psychological process. This chapter suggests a way to distinguish information stored in that way from the kind of influence of prior information that psychologists are concerned to classify as a top-down effect. The distinction drawn here illuminates discussions of the cognitive penetration of perception, as well as discussions of the theoretical usefulness of a perception-cognition distinction.

Keywords:   cognitive penetrability, modularity, perception-cognition distinction

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