Examine Gregorys Top-Down Indirect Theory

Authors Avatar by ellouise1997hotmailcom (student)

Gregory’s Top-Down/Indirect Theory

Gregory argued that perception is a constructive process which relies on top-down processing. 

A lot of the information reaches the eye, but much of it is lost by the time it reaches the brain (Gregory estimates 90% is lost). Therefore, the brain has to guess what a person sees based on past experiences. We actively construct our perception of reality. Gregory proposed that perception involves a lot of hypothesis testing to make sense of the information presented to the senses. Hypothesises are based on past experiences and stored information. The senses receive the information from the environment, which is then combined with previously stored information about the world which we have built up as a result of experience. The formation of incorrect hypotheses will lead to errors of perception for instance in visual illusions like the Necker Cube.

Supporting research has been conducted into the errors people make due to experience. Brochet had wine experts to taste and then describe white and red wines. Each participant could describe the wine distinctively and explained them both to be different. In truth both wines were the same but the colours were different. This supports Gregory’s theory of perception as their original knowledge of wine influenced them more than the sensory information.

Join now!

Similarly, Bruner et al showed participants false playing cards for instance, black hearts and red clubs. They found that participant’s perceptual system ‘coped’ by seeing purple or brown because they expected to see the opposite. Alike to Brochet’s findings this demonstrates that experience distorts perception supporting Gregory’s theory.

The greatest support for Gregory’s theory comes from visual illusions. Gregory was able to offer the explanation that they occur due to misapplied hypothesis that would normally work in the real world but not for illusions.

However this has been criticised as it does not explain why once we know ...

This is a preview of the whole essay