Publication date: October 2019
Source: Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 29
Author(s): JD Knotts, Brian Odegaard, Hakwan Lau, David Rosenthal
How do we explain the seemingly rich nature of visual phenomenology while accounting for impoverished perception in the periphery? This apparent mismatch has led some to posit that rich phenomenological content overflows cognitive access, whereas others hold that phenomenology is in fact sparse and constrained by cognitive access. Here, we review the Rich versus Sparse debate as it relates to a phenomenon called subjective inflation, wherein minimally attended or peripheral visual perception tends to be subjectively evaluated as more reliable than attended or foveal perception when objective performance is matched. We argue that subjective inflation can account for rich phenomenology without invoking phenomenological overflow. On this view, visual phenomenology is constrained by cognitive access, but seemingly inflated above what would be predicted based on sparse sensory content.