Phenomenal and Cognitive Factors in Spatial Perception

Gary Hatfield

in Visual Experience

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199597277
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741883 | DOI:
Phenomenal and Cognitive Factors in Spatial Perception

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This chapter provides an overview of the phenomenology of size perception and the use of instructions to tease apart phenomenal and cognitive aspects. It develops his own recent proposals concerning the geometry of visual space. The chapter proposes that visual space is contracted along the lines of sight. This contraction would explain the apparent convergence of railway tracks, but without invoking a “proximal mode” experience. Parallel railway tracks receding into the distance project converging lines onto the retinas. A true proximal mode representation would show these lines converging as if in a vertical plane. But we experience them as converging while also receding in depth along the ground. The chapter suggests that this calls for a third geometry of visual space, intermediate between a linear perspective projection and full phenomenal constancy (that is, phenomenal experience of the tracks as not converging). The chapter attributes reports of full constancy to cognitive factors.

Keywords: size perception; visual space; geometry; lines of sight; proximal mode; phenomenal constancy

Chapter.  13521 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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