What the mind's eye tells the mind's brain

From: Smith, Wendy (WS93PY@psy.soton.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Nov 20 1995 - 08:57:30 GMT

People certainly appear to experience images (based on introspection)
but this does not explain either how the image occurs, or the nature
of the image. The experience may be open to introspection, but the
mechanism behind it is not.

So, although the experience of the image may be either pictorial or
verbal, this may be a limit of our ability to express the nature of
the image. The actual representation itself may not be in the same
form as it's experienced. in other words, images are not the means
by which thinking is carried out, but an effect of the thinking

The representation isn't words, and isn't pictures, but a form which
is superordinate to both. The underlying concept is abstracted, and
so the representation is constructed from an interpretation of,
rather than "snapshot" of, pictures and words.

Three possibilities for the form this representation copuld take have
been suggested. It could be in the form of a proposition (ie an
assertion) and knowledge exists as a list of propositions. from this
initial list, all other valid propositions can be derived on a true
or false basis. I don't really understand this. I don't get where
the initial list comes from. By theory testing of the proposition
does it mean:

Proposition: If A, then B, but not C
Observation: B
Conclusion: Therefore A

The representation could be as a data-structure. I didn't understand
this either! Is it a set of propositions structured such that the
relationship between each of the propositions is also specified? Is
it like the data-base of a computer?

The representation could also be as a system of rules. When a
concept is abstracted, it is via a set of rules which determine
necessary and sufficient grounds for inclusion within the concept.
Does this mean:

Proposition: If A then B, but not C
Rule 1: Look for C, if present then not A
Rule 2: If no C, then look for B, if present then A

Whatever the representation, it's organised hierarchically. There is
a permanent structure which specifies the relationships between
concepts, but with no details of 3-D positioning. This is how
knowledge is represented in memory. When a particular concept is in
current use, it becomes very active, and goes to the top of the
hierarchy. Closely related concepts are also activated. As the
concepts become more distant, they are less active. So, there will
be several active concepts at the top of the hierarchy, and the rest
are dormant. This temporary 3-D structure is the image we have when
we are thinking. If another concept becomes the one is use, then the
hierarchy is re-structured into a different 3-D configuration, and
the image changes.

Am I getting close?

If this is so, then as S was unable to abstract information, it
suggests that the nature of his images were more in the form of
intact sensory information than images referred to here. What about
the storage of information in his memory and his thinking processes?
What a pity that all that was tested was how long a list he could
remember and for how long a duration.......!!

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