The Illusion of Seeing Everything

J. Kevin O’Regan

in Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199775224
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919031 | DOI:
The Illusion of Seeing Everything

Show Summary Details


The new view of seeing suggests that there is no “internal replica” of the outside world where all aspects of the scene are simultaneously “projected” for us to “see all at once.” On the contrary, seeing is constituted by the fact of using the tools provided by our visual system to extract and cognitively “manipulate” parts of the scene. This makes an important prediction: We will only effectively see those parts of a scene that we are actively engaged in “manipulating.” Furthermore, the parts that are seen will be seen in the light of the particular type of manipulation we are exercising, with the knowledge and mental background which that involves. Everything else in the scene will not actually be seen. This chapter reviews research that has confirmed this surprising claim.

Keywords: vision; seeing; visual system; manipulation; mental background

Chapter.  5372 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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.