Perception and Cognition: Top-Down Influences in Perceptual Experience

Perception and Cognition: Top-Down Influences in Perceptual Experience

University of Glasgow, 8–9 September 2015

The Rethinking the Senses project is pleased to announce a research-intensive interdisciplinary workshop on the subject of Perception and Cognition: Top-Down Influences in Perceptual Experience to be held on the 8th and 9th of September at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience.

This event will aim to address two distinct, but closely connected, issues in contemporary philosophy and science of perception: (i) the distinction between, on the one hand, perception or perceptual experience, and, on the other cognition or thought; and (ii) the mechanisms for, and degree to which, the latter influences the former; i.e. cognitive penetration and other top-down effects. The workshop will combine presentation of some of the latest philosophical and scientific research on these topics in a way that aims to make genuine progress on these important and interconnected issues, as well as to draw out the implications of this research for the philosophy and science of perception.

Topics covered will include:

  1. How we should differentiate perceptual experience from higher-level cognitive states, such as thought and belief, and is this a sharp distinction or a matter of degree?
  2. Can the content of higher-level cognitive states influence the phenomenal character of perceptual experience, and, if so, by what mechanism(s) does this take place?
  3. Do top-down effects influence non-perceptual states such as emotions, and can top-down influences other than cognitive penetration similarly affect perception or other states?


  • Jacob Beck (York University)
  • Steven Gross (Johns Hopkins)
  • Anya Hurlbert (Newcastle)
  • Jack Lyons (Arkansas)
  • Fiona Macpherson (Glasgow)
  • Christopher Mole (UBC)
  • Lars Muckli (Glasgow)
  • Nico Orlandi (California, Santa Cruz)
  • Dustin Stokes (Utah)

Registration for this event is via Eventbrite. Fees are as follows:

  • £15 registration fee, which includes refreshments on both days
  • £15 for each day that lunch is required
  • £35 to attend the workshop dinner on 8th September

Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so please register early to avoid disappointment. All fees are payable in advance, payment details for which will be emailed to delegates upon successful registration.

Further information

For further information, or if you have any questions, please contact the event organiser, Keith Wilson.