FW: [CSGNET] Memory in perceptual input

[From Don Hemminger 2005.09.08.1115 EDT]

Boy I must I have really missed the mark. I had to respond to my own post. :wink:

Was my contrived situation just too contrived? Was it totally out in left field? Using the initials on the glove may have been a stretch, but I think everyone has experienced situations where they would “swear” that they saw or heard something a certain way, and thus had other higher level perceptions based on that, only later to find proof that they made up or mixed up some of the details. After all, that’s what the conscious mind is good at. Pulling together various perceptions, assumptions and gaps in perceptions, and putting together a feasible explanation, often at the expense of fidelity.

So was there any redeeming value in example my or do I have to go back to the drawing board. Or is everyone just feeling satisfied and relieved that the Spat is over :wink:

Best

Don

···

From: Hemminger, Don
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 11:58 AM
To: ‘Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet)’
Subject: RE: [CSGNET] Memory in perceptual input

[From Don Hemminger 2005.09.07.1200 EDT]

Here’s a slightly contrived (but I think realistic) version of the OJ trial created in an attempt to untangle the meaning of thoughts, perceptions, and imagined perceptions in my own mind.

At the OJ trial, there is a juror that (for whatever reason) can’t be in the courtroom, so they are in a remote location connected by a video feed. They view all proceedings and evidence from the case via a monitor. During jury deliberation (all jurors are now together in one room), the previously remoted juror votes OJ guilty. When asked to explain his reasoning, he states that “he saw the initials OJS on the glove and so the glove definitely belongs to OJ and so he is guilty”. Another juror disagrees saying “there was no such marking on the glove”. The remoted juror replies “It was a bit faded, but I definitely saw it”. To prove his point, that juror called up recordings of all instances where the gloves were captured on video (which would include all cases where that juror could actually have “seen” the initials).

If the recordings clearly showed the glove with the initials, then that could be an example of a perception that was true that lead to a valid perception of guilt, although it could also be the case of a valid visual perception of the initials OJS along with an incorrect assumption (thought or imagining) that OJS stood for “Orenthal James Simpson” when it actually stood for “the Osage Jewelry Store”. If, on the other hand, a detailed review was unable to find anything even slightly resembling the initials (juror states “I swear I saw those initials, but I guess I didn’t”), I would say that would be an example of a perception that contained imagined information.

From that example I think one can conclude:

  • Higher level perceptions can include (and thus be “contaminated” by) imagined perceptions

  • Such perceptions cannot be reliably determined to be imagined or not imagined, simply by reviewing ones own recollections.

Don

[From Bill Powers (2005.09.08.0927 MDT)]

Don Hemminger 2005.09.08.1115 EDT --

Was my contrived situation just too contrived? Was it totally out in left field? Using the initials on the glove may have been a stretch, but I think everyone has experienced situations where they would "swear" that they saw or heard something a certain way, and thus had other higher level perceptions based on that, only later to find proof that they made up or mixed up some of the details. After all, that's what the conscious mind is good at.

"Made up or mixed up" is a good way of putting it. "Made up" means adding imaginary details to an otherwise real-time perception, with a subsequent effect on which higher system will perceive something. "Mixed up" implies some ambiguity in the input function, so that a system responds to an incomplete set of inputs by generating at least some perceptual signal ("I swear that I saw ..."). I wouldn't say there is any imagination in the "mixed up" situation, but that there is in the "made up" situation.

Of course there is also the matter of the missing information: OJS could be the initials of some glove manufacturer, but since you didn't know that you couldn't perceive that. However, that example shows that even if you have clear perceptual evidence, you can still be wrong. That's why, when a scientist gets a result on the first try that completely supports his hypothesis, his first reaction is to try to find out what went wrong. Nature always had some trick up its sleeve to trap the gullible.

Best,

Bill P.