, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 121–143 | Cite as

Cognitive Penetration and Memory Colour Effects

  • Dimitria Electra GatziaEmail author


Cognition can influence action. Your belief that it is raining outside, for example, may cause you to reach for the umbrella. Perception can also influence cognition. Seeing that no raindrops are falling, for example, may cause you to think that you don’t need to reach for an umbrella. The question that has fascinated philosophers and cognitive scientists for the past few decades, however, is whether cognition can influence perception. Can, for example, your desire for a rainy day cause you to see, hear, or feel raindrops when you walk outside? More generally, can our cognitive states (such as beliefs, desires or intentions) influence the way we see the external world? In this paper, I discuss three experiments on memory colour effects. In these experiments, subjects systematically made different colour matches or adjustments for object-patches representing objects that have prototypical colours and neutral object-patches. I argue that these differences are not merely differences in judgments but are best explained in terms of phenomenology. However, I show that these differences in phenomenology can be explained without reference to cognitive states such as colour concepts or beliefs.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of Akron/Wayne CollegeAkronUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Philosophical PsychologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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