Re: Images Vs. Symbols

From: Peacock, Kerry (
Date: Fri May 24 1996 - 14:18:33 BST

what is the difference between an image and a symbol?

The fundamental difference between an image and a symbol is that an
image actually resembles what it represents. A symbol, however, neither
resembles nor is causally connected with what it represents. Images are
 non-arbitrary shapes, the shape of an image is a replica of the actual
object. Images are central to the theory of analog processing, which
suggests that two-dimensional shadows of images that are shined onto
the retina (known as retinotopic mapping) are responsible for the
encoding of sensory input.
Alternativley symbols are arbitrary shapes to which we give meaning.
For example the symbol - DOG - does in no way resemble a four legged
animal which barks!
However we give this symbol - DOG - its meaning,the symbol could just
have easily been 0011001. Such symbols are combined to form
conventions, which are the accepted usage and interpretation of these
However the way symbols are interpreted is heavily dependent upon
context, environment, culture etc. No symbol has a fixed or inherent
meaning. For example PLAIN has a differentr meaning depending on the
 context it is in - i.e. THE FOOD TASTES VERY PLAIN and THE SUN SHONE
To English people the symbol CHAT means to talk, whereas the French
take it to mean what we call a cat.
Symbols are used in computations where the human brian if thought to
work much like computers, manipulating arbitrary symbols in accordance
with algorithms.

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