A&O – DEEP – PHYSIOLOGY: PERCEPTION

ART & ORGANISM


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PHYSIOLOGY

DEEP aspects of ART

Perception

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STIMULI become SENSATIONS become PERCEPTIONS become CONCEPTIONS 

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Right now, as you read this text, it may seem like your eyes are simply detecting words out there in the world. But you’re not detecting—you’re constructing. In every moment, outside of your awareness, your brain constructs a model of the outside world, transforming light waves, pressure changes, and chemicals into sights, sounds, touches, smells, and tastes. Your brain continually anticipates what will happen next around you, checks its predictions against sense data streaming in from your eyes, ears, and other sensory surfaces of your body, updates the model as needed, and in doing so creates your experience of the world. This covert construction of your senses is called exteroception. 

     Your brain also models the events occurring inside your body. In much the same way that your brain sees sights, feels things that touch your skin, and hears sounds, it also produces your body’s inner sensations, such as a gurgling stomach, a tightness in your chest, and even the beating of your heart. Your brain also models other sensations from movements that you cannot feel, such as your liver cleaning your blood. The construction of all your inner sensations is called interoception and, like exteroception, it proceeds completely outside your awareness.”  Read https://neilgreenberg.com/ao-reading-senses-interoception-from-cerebrum-2021/)

 

The instant of PERCEPTION involves the past and future at the cellular as well as the cognitive level: reflection (past experience) and anticipation (future experience).  PERCEPTION occurs at the site of convergence of bottom-up (sensory) and top-down (cognitive) information, both conscious and non-conscious, experiential . (see more at https://neilgreenberg.com/ao-perception/.)

Bottom-up information derived from external as well as internal sensory receptors, are, of course, different for different species: see A&O notes on UMWELT

 

There is a flow of information through all organisms, but many (we in particular) are able to derive heuristics–ways of responding–by selectively representing the stimuli and currents they instantiate that are (or have been in our ancestral past) useful for conducting ourselves in the most adaptive manner–the manner best able to meet our biological needs.  At the highest levels of organization, this speaks to ART, partly defined as an exploration of the boundaries of possibility for perception and conception. 

 

PERCEPTION is the outcome of sensation, but remarkable, many senses can converge on a percept (from Ariel Bleicher[i] on March 1, 2012  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/edges-of-perception/):   For example, 

  • In a series of studies begun in 1999 Beatrice de Gelder of Tilburg University in the Netherlands showed” that unconscious visual processing “is transporting the patient into a real emotional mood.”
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  • “It’s become quite clear that there are many, many aspects of our visual system that are taking place at levels you might call reflexive, automatic or subconscious,” says Brown University neuroscientist David M. Berson.
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  • Sighted people can teach themselves to echolocate, as a study published in 2011 showed. … “Just because we’re sighted, it doesn’t mean we’re not using some component of echolocation,” Pascual-Leone says. “When we’re seeing, we’re not purely seeing. Our seeing is flavored, among other things, by the input of sounds.”
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  • “The brain,” says Lawrence Rosenblum, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside’  links and synchronizes sensory information from many sources in ways we cannot consciously observe, giving us extraordinary gifts we never knew we possessed for perceiving the world.” 

 


[i] ARIEL BLEICHER is a New York City-based science journalist who has written for Popular MechanicsIEEE Spectrum and the Scientist, among other publications

 

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