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Real-world unisensory and multisensory processing: Perceptual and neural mechanisms in complex natural scene processing

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Reductionist approaches to understanding behavior seek to carefully control and systematically manipulate simple stimulus attributes in the well-controlled, constant conditions of the laboratory. This is well-engrained in the traditions of the human perceptual sciences (e.g., psychophysics, experimental ...

Reductionist approaches to understanding behavior seek to carefully control and systematically manipulate simple stimulus attributes in the well-controlled, constant conditions of the laboratory. This is well-engrained in the traditions of the human perceptual sciences (e.g., psychophysics, experimental psychology), and reductionism has remained the prevailing school of thought even as the methods of the cognitive neurosciences have become, perhaps, the most prominent in the study of our perceptual behaviors. Still, though reductionist approaches have been largely successful in providing fundamental understandings of basic perceptual capabilities, they continue to fall short of the ultimate goal of understanding how human perception functions in complex, real-world environments. One reason for the limited success thus far is that our need for experimental control has often overridden our desire for understanding the underlying complexity of perception. This especially has been the case for environmental auditory/visual contexts, where experimental manipulations are rarely based on any a priori understanding of the structure of relevant, representative sensory environments. More recently, a steadily growing body of research has emerged that attempts to find a balance between stimulus control and ecological validity. These efforts have spurred marked advances in theoretical, paradigmatic, measurement, and analytic approaches to understanding perception. In particular, advances in functional neuroimaging, and concomitant advances in the analysis of neuroimaging data, have provided invaluable new tools for bridging this research gap. The results of these efforts are now leading to an understanding of complex natural scene processing across sensory modalities.
This Research Topic will provide a forum for discussing the current and developing understanding of complex natural scene processing with explicit relevance to real-world contexts. This will include research investigating auditory and visual phenomena, as well as multisensory interactions between sensory systems. Submissions to the topic can include original research or research reviews addressing the perceptual and neural mechanisms underlying complex natural scene processing. In addition, submissions can include discussions of new methods and analyses or reviews of methods for addressing perceptual and neural processing of real-world relevant complex natural scenes.


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