chapter  4
32 Pages

Perception and the Symbolic Processes: Effects of Meaning

The consideration of empirical evidence on the functional significance of the symbolic processes begins appropriately with perceptual phenomena. Both processes, but especially imagery, are generally assumed to be related to perception in their developmental origin and in their functional properties. In addition, many traditional and contemporary approaches to perception have included the theoretical view that the symbolic processes modify or interact with sensory input to determine perceptual experience. We shall first review what has been said by these theorists concerning the matter, together with preliminary supporting evidence. This is followed by a statement of the theoretical position to be adopted here-essentially a restatement of the views presented in the preceding chapters as they apply to perceptual phenomena. The implications are then evaluated in the light of selected evidence, reviewed in two parts. The present chapter will be concerned with studies of the effects of stimulus meaning, whereas Chapter 5 deals primarily with effects of the experimental arousal of the symbolic processes on perception.