Term Paper: Brain Might Contextual

Pages: 5 (1462 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Physics  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The information is carried from the sensory organ to its respective area in the brain, where it is analyzed and interpreted, after which it is relayed to the somatosensory area in the parietal lobe for integration and perception. According to James Gibson, inventor of this theory, there is enough evidence in the surrounding for us to directly interact with it and create details of perceptions in our minds. (Dewey, 2007)

The top down process involves the use of contextual information. For example, reading a difficult handwriting or understanding wrongly spelled words is easier if the individual is already familiar with those words. This is because recognizing surrounding letters provide a contextual aid to the individual. (Dewey, 2007)

The top down process was a hypothesis invented by the psychologist, Richard Gregory. He considered perception as a process of making inferences about what we perceive through our five senses. According to Gregory, past knowledge and experience is a key factor that determines the process of constructing inferences. The hypothesis we create may not always be correct. For example, on entering a dark room, we may not clearly see the details of an object and may incorrectly perceive it as something else. On turning on the light, the hypothesized data will be confronted by the information received. ("Top-down and bottom-up," 2009)

However, the hypothesized perception created in the brain tends to be appropriate to its place in space. For instance, on entering a dimly lit room, we are more likely to perceive a rectangular object as a loaf of bread rather than a mail box. This is also supporting evidence to the top down process where prior experience, reasoning and past knowledge from the frontal cortex helps the somatosensory area perceive information in relation to the surrounding. Once we see elements that were expected to be seen in a certain environment, the information is rapidly interpreted. This is because on recognizing a few familiar features, the rest of the detail can either verified or expected to be present. (Kavanagh)

Another example of reasoning a perception is seen in dementia. Dementia is a disease of old age where memory is lost. These patients may have defects in perception due to their defect in memory; however, when confronted with reasoning, they are brought back to reality.

A typical text book example of the top down process makes use of images with more than one likely interpretation. For example, an image can either look like an old lady or a young girl. When given clues of the image, not initially perceived by the brain, the image seen at first tends to suddenly flip to the second image. These clues help us to alternate our perception. (Kavanagh)

The process of top down matching also occurs for natural images. Although, it may be rare to have two alternative interpretations of natural images due to the extra detail available in the environment, the speed with which we organize and perceive images around us is greatly due to the unconscious hypothesis we create based on clues coming from either the actual or the expected content of the retinal image (Kavanagh)

The transmission of these stimuli in the brain can be summarized in the following steps. Light impulses reaching the retina are transmitted to the optic lob via the optic nerves. These impulses are analyzed here, for example, establishing the shape of a pen. These impulses travel to the somatosensory area in the parietal lobe where they are combined with sensory impulses from the temporal lobe and the cerebellum. Here the object is perceived as either being a pen of a pencil depending on the detail of its structure. This stimulus is augmented from inputs of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe decides the ultimate perception. This perception can be either stored as a memory for further use or discarded.

References

Dewey, R. (2007). Top down and bottom up processing. Retrieved from http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Structure1.html

Hamilton, K.E. (2001). Sensation and perception. Retrieved from http://webhome.idirect.com/~kehamilt/psy2.html

Kavanagh, P. (n.d.). Top down processing in vision. Retrieved from http://www.visionlab.harvard.edu/members/patrick/pdf.files/topdownmitecs.pdf

Serendip. (2005, June 3). Brain structures and their functions. Retrieved from http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Structure1.html

Top-down and bottom-up theories of perception. (2009, June 27). Retrieved from http://cognitivepsychology.wikidot.com/cognition:topdown [END OF PREVIEW]

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