New Perspectives on the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception

December 10, 2018 - December 11, 2018
Center for Logic, Language and Cognition (LLC), Università degli Studi di Torino


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

View the Call For Papers

Keynote speakers:

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
American University of Beirut
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
University of Antwerp
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
University of Cyprus
Harvard University


Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Università degli Studi di Torino
Università di Torino (PhD)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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New Perspectives on the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception

Joint Turin-Bochum Workshop

10th - 11th  December 2018, Torino

Deadline: 8th  September 2018

Invited speakers

  • Peter Brössel (Ruhr University Bochum)

  • Yasmina Jraissati (American University of Beirut)

  • Insa Lawler (Ruhr University Bochum)

  • Bence Nanay (University of Antwerp/Cambridge)

  • Albert Newen (Ruhr University Bochum)

  • Athanassios Raftoupoulos  (University of Cyprus)

  • Susanna Siegel (Harvard University)

Conference theme

Can wearing a heavy backpack make a hill look steeper? Does reflecting on negative words or actions make the world literally look darker? And does knowing the colour of a banana make it look more yellow? There is a long-standing debate on whether perception is affected by knowledge, beliefs, or language.

According to the traditional “modular” understanding of perception, the standard answer to such questions is no. Perceptual processing is encapsulated from higher-level cognition. However, an impressive body of theoretical and empirical work on perception seems to suggest that states such as beliefs, desires, emotions, motivations, intentions, and linguistic representations can exert a direct, top-down influence on the contents and character of perception. Many scholars have seen such effects as ubiquitous and defying a sharp distinction between perception and cognition.

As a result, researchers are increasingly investigating to what the extent perception should be understood as a "transparent window on reality”. Are top-down effects on perception real, or do they just reflect influences on judgment, memory, or response bias? Does cognitive penetrability constrain us to epistemological coherentism? Does cognitive impenetrability lead us back to the myth of sense-data? The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience to discuss these and related questions.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive Penetrability/Impenetrability/Penetration Lite

  • Conceptual or Non-conceptual content of perception

  • Cognitive penetration and perceptual learning

  • Relation between cognitive states with (all) sensory modalities

  • Cognitive penetration of lower-level or/and higher-level properties

  • Contextual and top-down influences on perceptual information processing

  • Effects of linguistic relativity on perception

  • Perception, emotion, and the arts

  • Bayesian approaches to cognitive penetration

Organizing Committee

Peter Brössel (University of Bochum), Vincenzo Crupi (University of Turin), Mara Floris (University of Turin), Oscar Scarpello (University of Turin), Filippo Vindrola (University of Bochum), and The Emmy Noether Research Group From Perception To Belief and Back Again.

Scientific Committee

Carola Barbero
Vincenzo Crupi
Anna-Maria Eder
Regina Fabry
Harmen Ghijsen
Francesco Marchi
Carlotta Pavese
Athanassios Raftoupoulos
Joulia Smortchkova
Jan Sprenger
Jona Vance
Alberto Voltolini


We welcome submissions of extended abstracts (up to 1000 words excluding references). Each contributed presentation will be 40 minutes long, followed by a 15-minute Q&A session.

The official conference language is English; contributions in other languages will not be considered. Abstracts must be fully anonymous and suitable for blind refereeing.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is the 8th  September 2018. We aim to make a decision on contributedpapers by 30th September 2018.

The conference is a joint initiative of the University of Turin and the Ruhr-University of Bochum.

For any questions or inquiries about submissions please contact:

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