Friday, 2 May 2014

Visual Perception Without Language

Without language to label visual experience, the visual field is just a configuration of patterns, more or less like a Jackson Pollock painting.  This puts enormous pressure on memory, and makes the detection of difference, such as sudden movements (changes in the pattern), a matter of life and death.

It is not clear how far the semiosis of adult lorikeets — they can live as long as 35 years — develops beyond protolanguage to the point of labelling phenomena.  From observations of their behaviour, I suspect they have intersubjective labels — labels for each other — though it may be just that they recognise each other by indexical features, such as the timbre of their calls.

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