How to investigate perceptual projection

a commentary on Pereira Jr., “The projective theory of consciousness: from neuroscience to philosophical psychology”


  • Max Velmans



Perceptual projection, Projective theory of consciousness, Retinoid model, Phenomenology of consciousness, Phenomenal world


This commentary focuses on the scientific status of perceptual projection—a central feature of Pereira’s projective theory of consciousness. In his target article, he draws on my own earlier work to develop an explanatory framework for integrating first-person viewable conscious experience with the third-person viewable neural correlates and antecedent causes that form conscious experience into a bipolar structure that contains both a sense of self (created by interoceptive projective processes) and a sense of the world (created by exteroceptive projective processes). I stress that perceptual projection is a psychological effect (not an explanation for that effect) and list many of the ways it has been studied within experimental psychology, for example in studies of depth perception in vision and audition and experiences of depth arising from cues arranged on two-dimensional surfaces in stereoscopic pictures, 3D cinemas, holograms, and virtual realities. I then juxtapose Pereira’s explanatory model with two other models that have similar aims and background assumptions but different orientations, Trehub’s Retinoid model, which focuses largely on the neural functioning of the visual system, and Rudrauf et al’s Projective Consciousness Model, which draws largely on projective geometries to specify the requirements of organisms that need to navigate a three-dimensional world, and how these might be implemented in human information processing. Together, these models illustrate both converging and diverging approaches to understanding the role of projective processes in human consciousness.


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Biografia do Autor

Max Velmans

Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London – England.




Como Citar

Velmans, M. (2018). How to investigate perceptual projection: a commentary on Pereira Jr., “The projective theory of consciousness: from neuroscience to philosophical psychology”. TRANS/FORM/AÇÃO: Revista De Filosofia, 41(Special Issue), 232–242.