Perceptions as Hypotheses

  • Richard L. Gregory


Philosophers concerned with perception traditionally consider phenomena of perception which may readily be verified by individual observation and a minimum of apparatus. Experimental psychologists and physiologists, on the other hand, tend to use elaborate experimental apparatus and sophisticated techniques, so that individual observations — even one’s own observations — are no longer the stuff of discussion. By considering such experimental results the study of perception may come to look quite like physics. This has led to emphasis of certain aspects and features of perception: generally features which can be readily measured with laboratory techniques. Measures of ‘sensory’ and of ‘motor’ performance can provide parameters for theories of how sensory and the control aspects of the nervous system might function. Concepts and terminology then tend to be drawn from the physical sciences and from engineering. For example the sense organs may be described as ‘transducers’, converting information transmitted by one kind of energy into a different kind of energy.


Background Clutter Dimensional Object Normal Face Necker Cube Impossible Object 
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Copyright information

© Royal Institute of Philosophy 1974

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  • Richard L. Gregory

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