Friday, 16 October 2009
Can Nonconceptual Content be Stored in Visual Memory?
Athanassios Raftopoulos (Visiting Fellow), Univiversity of Cyprus, Department of Philosophy
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: Dartnall claims that visual short-term memory (VSTM) stores nonconceptual content (NCC), in the form of compressed images. Several philosophers, most notably Martin, also hold the view that NCC is being storted in memory. In this paper I argue against the claim that NCC can be stored in VSTM. I offer four reasons why NCC cannot be stored in visual memory and why only conceptual information can: (1) NCC lasts for a very short time and does not reach either visual short term memory or visual LTM; (2) the content of visual states is stored in memory only if and when object-centered attention modulates visual processing and this modulation signifies the onset of the conceptualization of that content; (3) only categorical high-level information that characterizes conceptual content and not metric and precise iconic information that characterizes NCC can be stored in visual memory for long periods; and (4) if NCC were stored in visual memory then this would allow recognitional judgments pertaining to NCC; one could recognize the precise shade of a color that one had seen before. However NCC does not allow such recognitional judgments. I also address some objections against my thesis.