Insight: Neuroscientific Investigations of Knowledge Effects on Visual Perception and Awareness

According to classic and current models visual perception can be viewed as encapsulated in the sense that it is not modulated by cognitive factors such as expectations or prior knowledge. Yet, evidence is cumulating that even verbally transmitted knowledge shapes perception, as has been demonstrated in the first phase of the current project. The perception of faces and objects can be modulated by knowledge, and this can have considerable consequences not only on how we perceive and evaluate our environment, but also on our behaviour and social interactions. To date, not much is known about the precise mechanisms of knowledge effects on perception, and even less is known about influences of knowledge on visual awareness. The main goals of the second phase are therefore to determine the precise mechanisms that underlie knowledge effects on perception and to investigate the potential influences of knowledge on visual awareness. Part 1 investigates with event-related brain potentials (1) the influence of visually derived information (e.g., about emotional states, attractiveness or personality impressions as trustworthiness) on effects of socially relevant person related information, (2) effects of gossip that is verbally marked as uncertain on face perception and moral judgments, and (3) whether the observed effects of abstract, verbally transmitted information generalize to knowledge that is based on direct communicative experience. Part 2 investigates visual awareness and how it is modulated by (1) by socially relevant knowledge that is long established memory and potentially embedded in the visual representations of faces, (2) by perceptual-semantic expertise, and (3) by the congruency of knowledge and the visual properties of faces and objects. The planned research should con-tribute to a better understanding of the basic mechanisms and limits of knowledge induced influences on visual perception and visual awareness.

Abdel Rahman, Rasha Prof. Dr. rer. nat. (Details) (Neuralcognitive Psychology)

DFG: Sachbeihilfe

Duration of Project
Start date: 10/2017
End date: 12/2020

Research Areas

Last updated on 2020-25-11 at 12:25