Measuring the World: Olfaction as a Process Model of Perception

In John A. Dupre & Daniel Nicholson (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. pp. 337-356 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
How much does stimulus input shape perception? The common-sense view is that our perceptions are representations of objects and their features and that the stimulus structures the perceptual object. The problem for this view concerns perceptual biases as responsible for distortions and the subjectivity of perceptual experience. These biases are increasingly studied as constitutive factors of brain processes in recent neuroscience. In neural network models the brain is said to cope with the plethora of sensory information by predicting stimulus regularities on the basis of previous experiences. Drawing on this development, this chapter analyses perceptions as processes. Looking at olfaction as a model system, it argues for the need to abandon a stimulus-centred perspective, where smells are thought of as stable percepts, computationally linked to external objects such as odorous molecules. Perception here is presented as a measure of changing signal ratios in an environment informed by expectancy effects from top-down processes.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-06-26
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience.Varela, Francisco; Thompson, Evan & Rosch, Eleanor

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
76 ( #29,421 of 42,348 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #35,209 of 42,348 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.