Mind: Section 3

Discussion Questions: Week 2 (October 6)

1. Templates vs. Features (Red Group)

  • In class, we saw that letter recognition involves feature matching rather than templates. Is it possible, however, that both types of object recognition strategies are active in perception? In particular, is there reason to believe that Template Theory provides a superior account of face recognition?
  • If it does turn out to be true that both templates and features are involved in perception, why would this be so? Why have both options? Why doesn't the mind rely on just one strategy (features or templates)?
  • Assuming that we have reason to believe that face recognition involves template matching, how do we explain the fact that faces can be recognized from a variety of different perspectives (front, side, etc.) and exposures (under a hat, behind a scarf, etc.)?

2. Perceptual variability, Part 1 (Blue Group)

  • Are there differences in the way that distinct individuals perceive the same objects?
  • How can we answer this question scientifically?
  • If such differences exist, where do they come from? What is responsible for creating them?
  • What are the potential consequences of individual differences in perception (for communication, interpersonal interactions, etc.)?

3. Perceptual variability, Part 2 (Green Group)

  • Are there differences in the way that particular individuals perceive the same objects based on variability in psychological, emotional, or physiological state?
  • How can we answer this question scientifically?
  • If there are such differences, how and why do they arise, and what does this suggest about the architecture of the mind? (In thinking about this question, it is important to consider the alternative: that changes in psychological, emotional or physiological state do not affect perception.)