• Stephen Handel


Perceiving is a “best estimate” based on the sensory signals transformed by receptors, modified by top-down neural control processes, context, past experience, and expectations. Sensations must be grouped in space and time at multiple levels to perceive objects and sources moving at different speeds and trajectories. Making this problem more difficult, the spatial and temporal levels affect each other. Based on research on face and singer recognition, it appears to be very difficult to create transformations that connect different images of the same face, or different song notes from the same singer. In the end, Handel is drawn to a conceptualization similar to that of Johansson (Percept Psychophys 14:201–211, 1973) in which the lower levels strip away the common parts leaving the higher-level unique parts as the figure.


  1. Behrmann, M., Richler, J., Avidan, G., & Kimchi, R. (2015). Holistic face perception. In J. Wagemans (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of perceptual organization (pp. 758–774). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Johansson, G. (1973). Visual perception of biological motion and a model for its analysis. Perception & Psychophysics, 14, 201–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Toiviainen, P., Luck, G., & Thompson, M. R. (2010). Embodied meter: Hierarchical eigenmodes in music induced movement. Music Perception, 28(1), 59–70. Scholar
  4. Young, A. W., & Burton, A. M. (2017). Recognizing faces. Psychological Science, 26, 212–217. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Handel
    • 1
  1. 1.PsychologyUniversity of Tennessee, KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations