Monday, 19 June 2017

A short 'Reading' of Alan Parker's book, "Essential Cognitive Psychology"

I have just started reading the book “Essential Cognitive Psychology” over the weekend.  The really striking thing that jumped out to me was a black and white silhouette picture on page 28…

The reconstructivist view of perception introduces us to a crucial distinction which runs
right through a wide range of explanations in cognitive psychology. This is the distinction
between bottom-up and top-down processing (note that the terms data-driven and conceptually- driven are often used as alternatives). A bottom-up process is one which proceeds from lower levels of analysis to higher levels. In contrast, a top-down process feeds down a system using higher level knowledge to facilitate lower level processes. In normal vision, we are not aware of the many complex interactions between bottom-up and top- down processes that occur during visual perception. So, in order to dissociate them, we need “trick” stimuli to demonstrate. Indeed, as you will see, many aspects of visual perception rely on the use of unusual stimuli to illustrate them.
Figure 2.1 may seem meaningless initially, but as you stare at it an organisation will suddenly emerge. This realisation represents the influence of top-down processes which have superimposed pre-existing knowledge on to the input to achieve
 Copyright © 2000. Taylor and Francis. All rights reserved 

FIG. 2.1. What do you see here?  A man playing the saxophone or a woman’s face?


The Reason I find this interesting is because we have made an anthropomorphic recognition of the image.

In fact, to Peregrine, I think it would neither see a man playing the saxophone or a woman’s face…

I believe it would see something entirely different.  So I have appended the drawing below to try to explain my point of view from a Peregrine… It becomes now a zoomorphic recognition.  To go further, this becomes a rapto-morphic recognition.


  1. A blackbird in flight (a prey species)
  2. A woodpecker emerging from its nest (another prey species)
  3. And even, the tell-tale sickle wing of another falcon. (Sickle = Falcon from the Latin (Falx)).

There is so much more in this picture too…
But, then again, to a dog, it might see…. – (I think you can get the picture… No pun intended! 😊 )

The conclusion is that I think ‘we see what we want to see’, but our proclivities lead us to a recognition that is more likely to affect us in some way, and this is why the book (Essential Cognitive Psychology) is of such importance to me and the project!

Parkin, A. J. (2000). Essential Cognitive Psychology. Retrieved from Created from hud on 2017-06-19 02:30:14

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