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Cognitive Description and Change Blindness

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Cognition depends on representations of the world that are much like descriptions. That is, processes of selection, organization, and categorization of the relations among things provide people with a view of the world that in principle could be different. A theoretical problem for a descriptional theory is the question of how the rich mapping of sensory detail available in perception is related to the descriptional character of information in higher level perception, memory, knowledge, and reasoning. In this paper, I review evidence in favour of a descriptional theory of cognition and suggest that work on change blindness clarifies the nature of the juncture between perception and cognition. In turn, work from the descriptional point of view clarifies the nature of change blindness. I discuss change blindness from this perspective for the topics of attention, recognition, and the adaptive use of information. I close with a discussion of new issues that are raised.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2000-01-01

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