RuCCS Colloquia

Does what you can do affect what you see? Paternalistic vision and the El Greco fallacy

Chaz Firestone

Tuesday, November 06, 2012, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Graduate Program, Yale University, Department of Psychology

Copy to My Calendar (iCal) Download as iCal file

What determines what we see? A tidal wave of recent research purports to have discovered countless circumstances in which otherwise-extraperceptual states such as beliefs, moods, or goals 'penetrate' perceptual processing to literally and directly affect our visual experiences. In this talk, I'll take one of the most extensively researched and influential bodies of work claiming such top-down effects on perception (Proffitt, 2006; Witt, 2011; Proffitt & Linkenauger, in press) as a case study to evaluate these purported threats to the cognitive impenetrability of visual perception, concluding that such work fails to withstand careful scrutiny. I'll also debut a new research strategy — inspired by art history's infamous "El Greco fallacy" — aimed at discovering whether claimed top-down effects on perception are truly perceptual in nature, reporting new results suggesting that they are not.

Chaz Firestone

The RuCCS Colloquia Series is organized by Dr. Julien Musolino and Dr. Sara Pixley. The talks are held on Tuesdays in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on the Busch Campus from 1:00-2:30pm.

Note: If you would like to receive email announcements about the colloquium series, please contact the Business Office to have your name added to our announce lists at