Visual perception in a snapshot
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Bachmann, T., Elliott, M., Herzog, M., & Vorberg, D. (2007). Visual perception in a snapshot. Psychological Research, 71(6), 615-617.
To study visual perception in its sub-second scale of time continues to be timely: we have more unsolved puzzles than bits of a firm undisputable knowledge about how our perceptions are created in a snapshot of time. Even though microgenesis of mental states and reactions over an observable, actual progression of time intervals has been often studied by the proponents of the microgenetic approach within educational psychology and language development studies, the stage-by-stage development of visual percepts within about 0.1¿0.3 s has remained somewhat disconnected from the concept of microgenesis when psychophysics and experimental cognitive psychology are concerned. While de facto microgenetic research has been popular recently (e.g. O¨ g¿men & Breitmeyer, 2006), (and this is regardless of the frequent disguising of this concept by the terms like formation and information-processing), we still do not know what precisely is visual masking, how masking and attention interact, what types of mental operations can be successfully carried out without explicit, conscious perception and what cannot (and what are the interdependencies between them). There is no certainty about what regularities characterise the fine-grain timing of the emergence of explicit perceptions and what are the key factors in analysing the timing of microgenesis; what is the relative role of feedforward and re-entrant processes in conscious vision. And of course, are there any good psychophysiological, objectivised signatures that can be meaningfully and reliably used to analyse such fast and largely hidden processes?