Re: Schyns 2.2. - 2.5.

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Thu May 21 1998 - 20:17:34 BST

> From: Stalder Kathryn <>
> One particular problem that must be addressed is the degree to which
> these functional features are themselves based on a (more) primitive
> set of features.
> You can make estimations and approximations as to the extent to which
> they are based on primitve features, but I'm not sure how this could
> be measured scientifically.

Well, you could eventually find feature-detectors in the brain, and
find out whether they are inborn or are created by experience. Or you
could do behavioural experiments based on the predictions of
fixed-feature vs. flexible feature theory, to see which theory the
experimental results support.

> We will accordingly argue that functional features are not always
> constructed out of a fixed catalogue of primitive features.
> But what about the blobs argument? It is logical to assume that no
> person can have infinite knowledge about all the possible shapes of
> blob that could feasibly exist. But it is still valid to argue
> the possibility that perhaps the features of blobs are just
> recombinations of known curves (fixed primitive features) and
> integration of these facets allow for feature recognition and
> categorisation. Wouldn't this process of integration of recombined
> primitives be a valid example of the mechanism by which functional
> features can always be constructed out of a fixed catalogue of
> primitive features?

Yes, but what about the X-Y-XY vs. XY-X-Y experiments? Don't they
suggest that detectors can be created by exposure history rather than
being inborn?

And would the blob results generalise to all kinds of features?

Professor of Psychology
Director, phone: +44 1703 592582
Cognitive Sciences Centre fax: +44 1703 594597
Department of Psychology
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton

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