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Re: direct/indirect perception
As I understand it, Gibson's formulation of direct perception actually came
out of his desire to circumvent the 'ghost in the machine' - is that about
right? Nevertheless, his idea that scientific reductionism can actually
result in impoverished experimental circumstances that exclude the very
elements of perception requiring examination, has been useful. The
'embedded-ness' of perception in 'proper' environments might not be best
represented in some laboratory environments.
Doesn't some of your own work come from a similarly ecological (no
capitalised 'E') motivation?
This goes back to your own comments on the status of 'information' that were
stimulated by the last discussion of Gibson, a couple of years ago. Your
example of the rotated 'Q' is rather like the pixellated photo. On the 'Q'
issue, I remember noticing that my dyslexic son could read equally well (or
badly) upside-down as right way up, a couple of years ago. The point is
that, to him, the translated information was effectively equivalent - the
'information' was all there, and learning to apprehend it was the issue.
That said, I agree with the synthetic component of perception, though not
necessarily going as far as R.L Gregory, who claims upto 90% synthetic.
Rather, an important consideration is that much of perception is dedicated
to recovering something about causes, especially with respect to having a
good perception of the future. Since most perception aims at being
advantageously placed in the upcoming future state of things, I can't quite
see how to discuss perception without representations.
However, there's an important distinction between computational contents,
and the structures that support them. If the structures that support the
sorts of representations we actually can entertain are themselves *caused*
by the history of our species' interaction with the world (the basis of
evolutionary arguments), then they are, in a sense, directly connected with
the world. Hence the representations that these structures can hold are
*somewhat* directly connected.
In respect of Bruno's point as to whether anything would be altered by the
assertion that perception is direct , the point is that experimental
circumstances could never *completely* represent real ones; but surely we
know that already?
p.s. - on a similar theme, Jarvilehto talks about the perceiver-environment
system as a wholistic one that cannot properly be separated without cost.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Al Bregman" <bregman@HEBB.PSYCH.MCGILL.CA>
Sent: 27 June 2004 07:23
Subject: Re: direct/indirect perception
> Dear Bruno, Brian, and list:
> As I understand Gibson's concept of direct perception, it is more
> than just the claim that the necessary information to form the
> percept is in the stimulus. It also claims that there is no
> mental representation at all of the stimulus.
> The argument goes like this: suppose that the way we know the
> world is by forming a representation of it. How would that help?
> How would we know what was in the representation? Would we have
> to form a representation of the representation? This leads to an
> infinite regress. An advocate of representations would argue
> that the brain, having formed the representation, could then read
> features off it as required. Gibson rejects the need for a
> representation at all. He would argue that the world is its own
> best representation. Why would you need another one? The brain
> can read off features, as it needs them, directly from the world,
> not from a representation. Hence the name "direct perception".
> Furthermore, all the forms of interaction that a representation
> theorist might envision between the rest of the brain and the
> representation, e.g., feedback loops for the control of action,
> can be done directly with the world. We are so directly coupled
> with the world that we can consider the world and our actions
> upon it as a single system for purposes of modeling. So we don't
> need a representation. Of course we know we have representations
> for purposes of thought and imagination, but these processes are
> different from simple perception, which does not use
> I don't agree with this, but it's the argument for direct
> Al Bregman
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Bruno L. Giordano" <bruno.giordano@UNIPD.IT>
> To: <AUDITORY@LISTS.MCGILL.CA>
> Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 6:39 AM
> Subject: Re: direct/indirect perception
> > Dear Brian, and list,
> > the ecological approach has the merit of directing attention of
> research to the
> > information in the environment, and to how the adaptive animal
> tends to
> > structure the incoming information in terms of properties of
> the environment.
> > These issues are important to me.
> > However, what would we gain the day we will be able to state
> clearly: 
> > perception is direct vs.  perception is not direct?
> > Which will be the advantages of such knowledge?
> > Bruno
> > Quoting Brian Gygi <bgygi@EBIRE.ORG>:
> > > Julien,
> > >
> > > I'm not the authority on this, but I always thought that
> > > perception" is direct in the sense that all the information
> > > perception
> > > is available in the environment, as opposed to more
> > > information-processing-oriented theories of perception which
> posit that
> > > the
> > > stimulus is impoverished and the job of the sensory system is
> improve it
> > > through the use of prior knowledge and inferences. So direct
> > > does not really require intermediate representations or
> memory models,
> > > although I believe only the most hardcore Gibsonians would
> insist on no
> > > role for memory.
> > >
> > > Brian Gygi
> > > East Bay Institute for Research and Education
> > > Martinez, CA
> > >
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > Bruno L. Giordano - Ph. D. student
> > Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale
> > Via Venezia 8 - 35131 Padova, Italy
> > currently hosted by:
> > Equipe Perception et Cognition Musicales
> > Ircam-CNRS (UMR 9912)
> > 1 place Igor-Stravinsky
> > F-75004 Paris, France
> > -------------------------------------------------
> > This mail sent through IMP: webmail.unipd.it