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Chapter 2

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McGill University
LING 200
Maire Noonan

LING 200 Introduction to the Study of Language Chapter 2 Non-linguistic individual - internal – intensional phenomena A Triangle Built by the Mind Even when a triangle doesn't exist and only 3 pacman shapes do, our mind will construct a white triangle and fill in the lines where it's blank There is no distinction between the area inside the triangle, its edges, and the background, so is the triangle not real? However, everyone sees the triangle, so is that a real fact about humans?  Human visual system interprets certain stimuli in such a way as to construct a representation of a triangle. The triangle is not a physical property of the page, but is a result of how you process physical stimuli like this page under certain circumstances (eg. when it's not too dark to read etc.)  Your mind imposes the triangle interpretation on the page One could say that if the edges aren't real, the triangle itself cannot be real  People say that maybe the only reason we perceive the triangle is because we have the word ’’triangle’’ in our heads *I doesn't apply because bees can see the triangle; words don't allow us to perceive things, just gives us a label  We can construct other figures that we have no names for What we perceive (eg. the triangle) is not pa rt of the physical input to our eyes, but is an information structure, or representation constructed by the visual system, based on the input it receives and its own rules on interpretation It is hard to get an artificial system to recognize these constructed shapes, which further goes to show that it is our mind's rules and interpretation that allows us to perceive the shapes There are a bunch of humans whose minds contain similar kinds of rules and symbols that we informally group together as Warlpiri  Similarly all humans share similar rules that allow us to see the triangle on the page Humans ‘fill in the blanks’ because we possess some specific visual information  It is self acquired—it is a part of our innate being or acquired through interaction with out environment that shares our innate being.  Not all animals are able to distinguish these ‘vague’ shapes but this property may be innate to more than one species. All of these phenomena don’t always have to occur with a shape we’re well acquainted with. We can still distinguish shapes through contrasting colors because of our nature to ‘fill in the blanks’. Our visual inference system cannot help but see things a certain way, and it does not matter that there is not right way to experience images  Humans cannot help but perform the computations that lead to the perception of a certain image Prosopagnosia: when someone can see eyes, ears, mouth but cannot recognize the face  Suggests that face perception requires construction of a complex symbolic representation from objects that themselves are constructed by the visual system  These processes of construction occur inside each individual’s mind according to the rules and principles of vision and face recognition Example of visual construction Scene analysis: used in visual computation to refer to the computational process that determines the regions of a picture that should be treated as parts of the same object Imagine listening to a constant hum of air conditioner while hearing footsteps come down the hall  In this scenario, your mind makes the distinction between the air conditioner and the footsteps even though the two sounds are combined together  Your mind also groups each separate step into a group a steps, and the air conditioner in the background Spectral integration: it involves integrating events that are different as one occurring event as they’re falling into the same ‘category’  different sounds of musical instruments integrated to make a melody i.e. musical notes and overtones as coming from the same sound Spectral segregation: the opposite of spectral integration i.e. differentiating the sound of speech from the hum of the AC Auditory scene analysis (Albert Bregman et al) Types of processes: 1. Simultaneous spectral integration and segregation 2. Sequential integration i.e footsteps, basically separate sounds that are perceived as one auditory sound. The mind integrates the sounds into one auditory stream Just like how the edges of the triangle were constructed in our minds, so
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