What is Cognitive Science

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

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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.

Dr. Ophelia Deroy


"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

Note: Talks are also announced by email (with reminders sent the day of the talk) to people who have requested to be placed on our announce list. If you would like to be added to our announce list, please email the Business Office (business_manager@ruccs.rutgers.edu).