The podcasts reviewed here are the 15th and 16th episodes in Hoeven’s series of the Mind Podcast. In the 15th episode (available here) Hoevens looks at three aspects of perception. Firstly he considers the theme of constancy whereby sensory information is used to create constant perceptual features. He discusses a number of mechanisms which make this possible including monocular and binocular processes. For instance with monocular vision it is still possible to identify perceptual features by means of the movement of the object across the visual field for instance. He then discusses some of the processes used in binocular vision in the creation of perceptual features. Hoevens covers illusions briefly before moving onto the subject of learning and perception. Here he looks at a number of experiments which have provided evidence that aspects of perceptual processing can be both innate and learnt. While this is a brief introduction to the field, the listener can get a good feel for the subject from Hoeven’s treatment of the material.
The 16th episode is slightly longer than the average episode at just over 30 minutes (available here). Hoevens looks at consciousness and attention. There is a brief initial discussion of consciousness where Hoevens introduces the terms consciousness, preconsciousness, unconciousness and non-consciousness while also acknowledging the difficulties surrounding the definition of consciousness. Hoevens then looks at attention and describes some models of the processes that might be involved including early and late selection as well as the continuous model. He finishes with a description of some very interesting studies that have been undertaken which have been undertaken in people with an interruption of the interhemispheric connections. In the podcast these are referred to as ‘split-brain’ studies but I wasn’t clear on whether these were callosotomies or developmental abnormalities or a mixture of the two that were being described. Nevertheless it was useful to be reminded of how studies in this area can inform our understanding of conscious and unconscious experiences.
Again Hoevens narrates in a relaxed style and uses a background of baroque music and even provides a musical interlude giving the audience space to consolidate their learning.
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