Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Barsalou: Perpetual symbol systems

Perception as purposeful inquiry: We elect where to direct each glance, and determine what is encoded within and between glances

Julian Hochberg a1
a1 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027 [email protected]


In agreement with Barsalou's point that perceptions are not the records or the products of a recording system, and with a nod to an older system in which perception is an activity of testing what future glances bring, I argue that the behavior of perceptual inquiry necessarily makes choices in what is sampled; in what and how the sample is encoded, and what structure across samples is pursued and tested; and when to conclude the inquiry. Much of this is now being hectically rediscovered, but a comprehensive approach like the one Barsalou proposes should help preserve what progress is made.