Objective and Subjective Sides of Perception

Alan Gilchrist

in Visual Experience

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199597277
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741883 | DOI:
Objective and Subjective Sides of Perception

Show Summary Details


Every perceptual experience has an objective and a subjective side. We see object size, independent of distance, but we also see that distant objects project smaller images. Early modern conceptions focused on local stimulation and thus on the subjective aspect. Helmholtz and Hering emphasized the objective aspect. Helmholtz split visual experience into two stages, with sensation representing the subjective side and perception, through cognitive processes, the objective side. Gestalt theory denied this dualism, rejecting both sensory and cognitive stages. Despite contrary evidence, the sensation/perception dualism persists, in brightness models and past experience theories. That we can detect visual angle and luminance does not mean that these are raw sensations out of which perception of size and lightness is built. Size and color constancy are truly visual, not cognitive. Instructions to subjects in vision experiments must avoid the proximal mode on the one hand and cognitive judgments on the other.

Keywords: color constancy; visual angle; brightness; luminance; cognitive processes; size constancy

Chapter.  8268 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.