Research Topic

Linking Perception and Cognition

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic is cross-listed in Frontiers in Psychology under the section of - Perception Science
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This Research Topic is cross-listed in Frontiers in Psychology under the section of - Perception Science

Perception and cognition are tightly related. As our primary mode of contact with the world, perception is the informational and causal foundation of our cognitive processes; it is fundamental to our empirical thinking, believing, and action planning. Traditional accounts of the mind consider perception and cognition to be distinct, yet highly interrelated, systems. Much interdisciplinary empirical and theoretical work, from cognitive scientists and philosophers, has attempted to elucidate the complex relations holding among these systems, suggesting the existence not only of influences of perception on cognition but also vice versa.

However, many questions are left unanswered. Given that perception is a guide to our thinking about and acting upon the world appropriately, the two systems must be able to 'talk' to one another; information carried by perception must be of a form adequate to be 'taken in' by our various cognitive systems. The question arises: What kinds of structural similarities must hold between perceptual and cognitive representations for such 'communication' to be possible? And how exactly do perceptual and cognitive representations interact? Some researchers have argued
that the links between perception and cognition are so tight as to instill doubt as to the significance of the distinction between the two systems in the first place. Yet others insist that perception and cognition remain distinct.

The aim of this Research Topic is to deepen our understanding of the kinds of interaction among perception and cognition and of the nature of the representational structures that would enable such interaction. It proposes to do so by bringing together theoretical and empirical contributions that discuss the relation between perception and cognition from the following perspectives:

First, the relationship between perception and cognition call upon us to ask: What are the similarities between the respective representational structures and processes of perception and cognition?

Second, what mechanisms, if any, mediate between perceptual and cognitive processes? It has recently been argued that attention might be such a mechanism. However, it is still unclear how exactly attention carries out this mediating role, and whether it is both a necessary and sufficient condition for interaction between the two systems. Other mechanisms might be implicated as well.

Third, thinking about the relations between perception and cognition calls for the investigation of such relations involving distinct perceptual modalities. In fact, it is an open question whether the different senses share the same structural properties. It may be that similarities holding among certain perceptual modalities and cognition do not obtain with others.

The Research Topic is open to both theoretical and empirical contributions from different fields (e.g., philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience) in the form of original research articles, hypothesis and theory articles, reviews, and commentaries.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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