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Re: Difference between cognition and perception?

Dear list,
Peter Lennox wrote:
> So it has sometimes been
> possible to talk about 'direct perception' (sometimes, but not always, in
> the same context as 'sense-perceptions'), but I don't remember coming across
> 'direct cognition'.
> I'd rather like a clearer idea of the distinction, too.
I think most cognitive psychologists would use the term automaticity to describe what he referred to by 'direct cognition'. For example, reading is a most complex 'cognitive' activity and children learning to read are engaged in a lot of 'thinking about', activity. However, when they become proficient readers (as the majority do) the process of reading becomes more transparent or direct and not so much thinking about is required anymore. In a way, I think this is similar to the perception of familiar stimuli: When listeners have to discriminate between novel stimuli (even is a 'simple' perceptual task) they probably have to engage in a comparison process which becomes 'automatic' for well trained ones. In this sense I feel a sharp distinction between perception and cognition is not useful.
Karen Banai
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Northwestern University
Searle Bldg. 2240 N. Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208