Monday, April 11, 2011

A Definition of Perception

Arnheim mentions the task of visual perception as "collecting the raw materials for cognition"(p. xix). as a result a good understanding of perception will be insufficient without s good definition of cognition. In qualifying some other characteristics about perception which can be added to learn the nuance of the topic Arnheim offers the following.

"All perception is the perceiving of qualities, and since all qualities are generic, perception always refers to generic properties" (p. xxiii) and "all perception involves aspects of thought" (p. xxiv)

the relationship between thought and perception is what is in discussion here, and can be rephrased as the relationship between perception and cognition. Arnheim says that Perception involves thought and in the preceeding phrases of the same sentence mentions that thought involves perception. This is an outline of a transactional system between the two.

Cognition has been defined in Shettleworth's book Cognition, Evolution and Behaviour as "the mechanisms by which animals aquire, process, store, and act on information from the environment. These include perception, learning memory and decision making." (p5). Shettleworth explains "For many Psychologists, mental representations of the world are the essense of cognition" (p6) and mentions functioning isomorphisms which are believed to be the bridge between brain processes and events in the world according to Gallistel.

In a lecture Dr Neil Overton mentioned an idea which has one word in common, and it was Isomorphic Correspondence which is the process of recalling a past experience which forms meaning around a visual stimulus, the example he gave is when looking at a crucifixion we remember a time when we were hurt, maybe with a nail, or by something on our hands etc.

A comprehensive definition of Isomorphic Correspondence and fuctioning isomorphisms will advance further understandings about the relationship between perception and cognition, giving a greater understanding to perception which my research topic.

Arnheim, Rudolf. Visual Thinking in Overview, Foreword in Perception and Pictorial Representation. Nodine, Calvin F & Fisher, Dennis F. (Ed.) Paeger Publishers, NY 1979 p xix-xxix

Overton, Neil. Visual Coherence Class lecture, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, March 4, 2011.

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