Human Perception Viewed as a Phenotypic Expression
Google Tech Talk
October 26, 2011
Presented by Dennis Proffitt.
Visual experience relates the optically-specified environment to people's ever-changing purposes and the embodied means by which these purposes are achieved. Depending upon their purpose, people turn themselves into walkers, throwers, graspers, etc., and in so doing, they perceive the world in relation to what they have become. People transform their phenotype to achieve ends and scale their perceptions with that aspect of their phenotype that is relevant for their purposive action. Within near space, apparent distances are scaled with morphology, and in particular, to the extent of an actor's reach. For large environments, such as fields and hills, spatial layout is scaled by changes in physiology -- the bioenergetic costs of walking relative to the bioenergetic resources currently available. When appropriate, behavioral performance scales apparent size; for example, a golf hole looks bigger to golfers when they are putting well. Research findings, conducted in both natural and virtual environments (VR), show that perception is influenced by both manipulations of and individual differences in people's purposive action capabilities.
Speaker Info: Dr. Dennis Proffitt
Dennis Proffitt is the Commonwealth Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. He has authored over a hundred research publications, mostly in the area of visual perception. Proffitt's research has been funded by the following federal agencies: Air Force, Army, Navy, DARPA, NASA, NIH, and NSF, and by these private corporations: Intel, Microsoft Research, and Walt Disney Imagineering. He was awarded the University of Virginia Outstanding Teaching Award, 1996-1997, and the Cavalier Distinguished Teaching Professorship, 1999-2002. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologist. He believes that we live in a world of wonders and enjoys sharing with students the joys of discovery.