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The Predictive Mind$
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Jakob Hohwy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199682737

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199682737.001.0001

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Is predicting seeing?

Is predicting seeing?

(p.117) 6 Is predicting seeing?
The Predictive Mind

Jakob Hohwy

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores what the prediction error minimization framework can say about the extent to which prior beliefs determine perception; this then concerns the long-standing debate about cognitive penetrability and modularity. The framework has clear roles for both top-down expectations and bottom up prediction error, and this allows it to chart a reasonable route through the issues; moreover the way these two seemingly opposing processes interact lets us see why cognitive impenetrability issues have been so recalcitrant. On the basis of the framework, there is a way in which our expectations in interesting ways modulate our perception. This however happens mainly under conditions of mounting uncertainty and under a definition of cognitive penetrability that is more inclusive in some respects from the standard definition. As an important part of the overall argument the chapter also makes room for the compelling cases of cognitive impenetrability. The chapter ends with a series of case studies of cognitive penetrability.

Keywords:   cognitive impenetrability, theory-laden observation, modularity, Müller-Lyer illusion, rubber hand illusion, inference under uncertainty

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