Hierarchical Brain

An explanation of the human brain

First published 1st February 2024. This is version 1.5 published 2nd March 2024.
Three pages are not yet published: sleep, memory and an index.
Copyright © 2024 Email info@hierarchicalbrain.com

Warning - the conclusions of this website may be disturbing for some people without a stable mental disposition or with a religious conviction.


A perception takes place when a symbol schema is activated as a result of the processing of incoming sense data.

Perception is a higher level of description of the afferent processing of incoming data because it requires the existence of symbol schemas. For this reason, it is part of level 6 in my hierarchical structure of levels of description.

Contents of this page
Overview - an introduction to the subject and a brief summary of my views.
Details - more details of my proposals with an example.
References - references and footnotes.



References For information on references, see structure of this website - references

  1. ^ The Principles of Psychology - William James 1890
    viewable here, downloadable here: Volume I and Volume II or see GoogleScholar.
    Volume 2, Chapter XIX “The perception of 'things'”, first paragraph: “Any quality of a thing which affects our sense organs does also more than that: it arouses processes in the hemispheres which are due to the organization of that organ by past experiences.”
  2. ^ Consciousness and the Brain - deciphering how the brain codes our thoughts - Stanislas Dehaene Viking Penguin USA 2014
    Page 72: “we do not hear the sound waves that reach our ears; nor do we see the photons entering our eyes. What we gain access to is not a raw sensation but an expert reconstruction of the outside world. Behind the scenes, our brain acts as a clever sleuth that ponders all the separate pieces of sensory information we receive, weighs them according to their reliability, and binds them into a coherent whole.”
  3. ^ Convergent and Invariant Object Representations for Sight, Sound, and touch - Man, Damasio, Meyer and Kaplan 2015
    doi: 10.1002/hbm.22867 downloadable here or see GoogleScholar.
    Top of Page 2: “...information streams from the different sensory channels converge somewhere in the brain and form representations that are invariant to the input modality.” In other words, a representation of an object is somewhere in the brain and is triggered by sense data from that object no matter which sense is used.
    Page 11, last paragraph: “...we mapped the cortical representations of real-world objects presented in audition, vision, and touch. We found sensory representations in large sectors of the sensory and association cortices, and even in the early sensory cortices of modalities other than that of the presented stimulus.” In other words, perception of an object using one sense can trigger sensory neurons of other senses.
  4. ^ See it with feeling: affective predictions during object perception - Barrett and Bar 2009
    doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0312 downloadable here or see GoogleScholar.
    From the Abstract on the first page [“affective” here means “related to feelings or emotions”]: “...the brain’s ability to see in the present incorporates a representation of the affective impact of those visual sensations in the past. ...The affective prediction hypothesis implies that responses signalling an object’s salience, relevance or value do not occur as a separate step after the object is identified. Instead, affective responses support vision from the very moment that visual stimulation begins.”
    From the Conclusions on pages 1331-2: “...personal relevance and salience are not computed after an object is already identified, but may be part of object perception itself.”
  5. ^ Ibid. See it with feeling: affective predictions during object perception
    The introduction on the first page describes the case of a man who lost his sight at the age of three and had it restored forty years later.
  6. ^ The puzzle of conscious experience - Chalmers 1995 (updated 2002)
    Scientific American April 2002, downloadable here or see GoogleScholar.
    Page 93: “...consider a thought experiment devised by the Australian philosopher Frank Jackson. Suppose that Mary, a neuroscientist in the 23rd century, is the world’s leading expert on the brain processes responsible for color vision. But Mary has lived her whole life in a black-and-white room and has never seen any other colors. She knows everything there is to know about physical processes in the brain - its biology, structure and function. This understanding enables her to grasp all there is to know about the easy problems: how the brain discriminates stimuli, integrates information and produces verbal reports. From her knowledge of color vision, she knows how color names correspond with wavelengths on the light spectrum. But there is still something crucial about color vision that Mary does not know: what it is like to experience a color such as red.”

Page last uploaded Sat Feb 17 03:10:51 2024 MST