What is Cognitive Science

Interactions of bottom-up and top-down processes in visual perception

Dr. Thomas Papathomas

Thursday, December 04, 2014, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Laboratory of VIsion Research

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One of the oldest hypotheses in vision is that what we perceive does not depend only on the signals that come in through our eyes, but also on the state of the observer, experience-based stored knowledge (in the form of rules or of specific knowledge of objects), suggestions from others, etc. What we perceive is not a passive process, akin to a video camera, but it is the product of active processing of the data coming through our eyes. It appears that the visual brain makes hypotheses, based on the input signals, about what is out there and then tests these hypotheses against the incoming data. It is only when this interaction of the data processing mechanisms and top-down analysis converge that we achieve a stable percept. I will present evidence from studies in perception under altered states, in pathologies, bistable illusions, impoverished ambiguous stimuli and brain imaging that supports this hypothesis.

Dr. Thomas Papathomas


"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).