Another look at the two visual systems hypothesis: The argument from illusion studies

Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (8):35-62 (2008)
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The purpose of this paper is to defend what I call the action-oriented coding theory (ACT) of spatially contentful visual experience. Integral to ACT is the view that conscious visual experience and visually guided action make use of a common subject-relative or 'egocentric' frame of reference. Proponents of the influential two visual systems hypothesis (TVSH), however, have maintained on empirical grounds that this view is false (Milner & Goodale, 1995/2006; Clark, 1999; 2001; Campbell, 2002; Jacob & Jeannerod, 2003; Goodale & Milner, 2004). One main source of evidence for TVSH comes from behavioral studies of the comparative effects of size-contrast illusions on visual awareness and visuo- motor action. This paper shows that not only is the evidence from illusion studies inconclusive, there is a better, ACT-friendly interpretation of the evidence that avoids serious theoretical difficulties faced by TVSH.

Author's Profile

Robert Briscoe
Ohio University


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