Notes On Kosslyn "Visual Cognition: Introduction"

Kosslyn starts by noting that vision is fundamentally important to our lives. "Thus it is important to understand vision if we are to understand the nature of mind." Any understanding of human vision, which is highly sophisticated, is bound to have important applications too (e.g., computer vision systems.)

Kosslyn distinguishes between high- and low-lvel vision, and points out that the chapters in Volume 2 are all concerned with high-level vision. This kind of vision involves stored or represented information, and is therefore top-down. In contrast, low-level vision is stimulus driven, or bottom-up. "Low-level visual processes are driven by the stimulus input; they do not rely on knowledge or belief, as high-level processes do."

Kosslyn ends with a catalogue of topics covered by the different chapters in Volume 2:

"Our purpose is to present the key discoveries and insights in various areas of research on visual cognition and to show how varied types of research fit together." So, the theme of Volume 2 seems to be that there is substantial diversity in the kinds of topics that cognitive scientists are interested in when they study vision, but that these topics are systematically related. Our goal in this course is to get a sense of the foundational assumptions held by cognitive scientists that permit these systematic relationships to emerge.

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