The new trick: modularity, automation, and the plasticity of perception

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Keywords: 
Cognitive Science
Cognition
Perception
Perception Philosophy
Constructivism (Psychology)
Perceptual learning
Cognition perception
Modules
Fodor
Modularity
Adaptive automation
Perceptual plasticity
Abstract: 

Jerry Fodor’s modularity theory holds that psychological processes behind basic perception have a property called informational encapsulation that preserves a consistency of experience across individuals and over time. Encapsulation keeps basic perception fixed, mechanical, insulated, and leaves it largely unalterable by the variability of higher-level cognition, as in acquired beliefs, knowledge, imagination, memory, and individual learning. However, encapsulation conflicts with mounting evidence that perceptual processes are sensitive to higher-level cognition under specific conditions. In this thesis, I will argue that modularity cannot adequately account for certain findings about perceptual experience. I will then propose an alternative theory of ‘holistic information transfer’, ‘cognitive information taps’, and ‘adaptive automations’ that accommodates the empirical literature behind observed cases of perceptual plasticity and accounts for the apparent implasticity that motivates modularity theory. Instead of encapsulated modules, we can conceive of perceptual systems as experientially reinforced cognitive subsystems amidst an informationally integrated cognition.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed, but not for the text to be copied and pasted.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
K
Department: 
Dept. of Philosophy - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)
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