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The Innate MindStructure and Contents$
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Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179675.001.0001

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Innateness and (Bayesian) Visual Perception

Innateness and (Bayesian) Visual Perception

Reconciling Nativism and Development

(p.34) 3 Innateness and (Bayesian) Visual Perception
The Innate Mind

Brian J. Scholl

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores a way in which visual processing may involve innate constraints and attempts to show how such processing overcomes one enduring challenge to nativism. In particular, many challenges to nativist theories in other areas of cognitive psychology (e.g., ‘theory of mind’, infant cognition) have focused on the later development of such abilities, and have argued that such development is in conflict with innate origins (since those origins would have to be somehow changed or overwritten). Innateness, in these contexts, is seen as antidevelopmental, associated instead with static processes and principles. In contrast, certain perceptual models demonstrate how the very same mental processes can both be innately specified and yet develop richly in response to experience with the environment. This process is entirely unmysterious, as shown in certain formal theories of visual perception, including those that appeal to spontaneous endogenous stimulation and those based on Bayesian inference.

Keywords:   visual processing, nativism, Bayesian inference, human visual system, cognitive systems

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