Constant Enough: On the Kinds of Perceptual Constancy Worth Having

Frank H. Durgin, Anna J. Ruff and Robert C. Russell

in Visual Experience

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199597277
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741883 | DOI:
Constant Enough: On the Kinds of Perceptual Constancy Worth Having

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This chapter argues that whereas perceptual experience is underconstant in one sense, it is virtually constant insofar as it is functionally stable and predictable. The possibility of distinguishing perception and cognition is explored in experiments on the perception of surface orientation. These experiments are related to the study of self-motion perception and space perception. An experiment comparing monocular and binocular perception of hills revealed perceptual differences, between-subjects, that were masked in within-subject comparisons by metacognitive strategies. A second experiment found that participants wearing heavy backpacks gave (cognitively) elevated slope estimates only because of experimental demands not physical ones. Perceptual experience is informative about perceptual processing, but reports of experience are subject to cognitive contamination. True perceptual experience may be virtually constant insofar as the perceptual consequences of actions can be correctly anticipated.

Keywords: perceptual experience; cognition; monocular perception; binocular perception; metacognition; cognitive contamination

Chapter.  8415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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