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Seeing what you believe ? Coloured shapes and other cases
Dr. Ophelia Deroy
Thursday, October 28, 2010, 12:00pm - 07:00pm
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and New York University
Having learned that hearts are red, and bananas yellow, we are more ready to perceive heart shapes as red and banana shapes as yellow (Delk and Fillenbaum, 1965 ; Hansen et al. 2006 ; Olkkonen at al., 2008). These effects on perception are difficult to measure and to explain. They vary from one object to another : in tested conditions, hearts and apples will look more red, but squares reflecting the same wavelength won't. Does this "object-sensitivity" of colour perception suggest that the effect is shaped from outside, by higher cognitive processes where the information about shapes and colours are stored together? I discuss these cases and other examples of object-sensitivity in perception. Contrary to Siegel or McPherson, I don't think that these cases give us good reasons to discard the idea that perception is cognitively impenetrable. I offer an alternative account in terms of semantic cross-modal effects, which helps us understand the nature of multi-sensory integration and top-down influences on perception.