• The outlier paradox: The role of iterative ensemble coding in discounting outliers
    Michael Epstein, Jake Quilty-Dunn, Eric Mandelbaum, and Tatiana Emmanouil
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 1. forthcoming.
    Ensemble perception—the encoding of objects by their group properties—is known to be resistant to outlier noise. However, this resistance is somewhat paradoxical: how can the visual system determine which stimuli are outliers without already having derived statistical properties of the ensemble? A simple solution would be that ensemble perception is not a simple, one-step process; instead, outliers are detected through iterative computations that identify items with high deviance from the mean a…Read more
  • Fodor on cognition, modularity, and adaptationism
    Samir Okasha
    Philosophy of Science 70 (1): 68-88. 2003.
    This paper critically examines Jerry Fodor's latest attacks on evolutionary psychology. Contra Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, Fodor argues (i) there is no reason to think that human cognition is a Darwinian adaptation in the first place, and (ii) there is no valid inference from adaptationism about the mind to massive modularity. However, Fodor maintains (iii) that there is a valid inference in the converse direction, from modularity to adaptationism, but (iv) that the language module is an excep…Read more
  • Sustained Representation of Perspectival Shape
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117 (26). 2020.
    Arguably the most foundational principle in perception research is that our experience of the world goes beyond the retinal image; we perceive the distal environment itself, not the proximal stimulation it causes. Shape may be the paradigm case of such “unconscious inference”: When a coin is rotated in depth, we infer the circular object it truly is, discarding the perspectival ellipse projected on our eyes. But is this really the fate of such perspectival shapes? Or does a tilted coin retain an…Read more
  • An ongoing philosophical discussion concerns how various types of mental states fall within broad representational genera—for example, whether perceptual states are “iconic” or “sentential,” “analog” or “digital,” and so on. Here, I examine the grounds for making much more specific claims about how mental states are structured from constituent parts. For example, the state I am in when I perceive the shape of a mountain ridge may have as constituent parts my representations of the shapes of each…Read more