Bistable perception

Necker_cubeBistable perception is a phenomenon caused by a visual stimulus, which generates two different perceptions in the subject who sees it. Bistable perception instances result in particular from:

– The Necker cube

– the Rubin’s vase

– The duck / rabbit illusion

Cases of bistable perception attract the interest because they raise questions about the causes that lead to the bistable phenomenon of perception, but also because there are individual differences in this type of sensitive perception. In particular, the frequency changes or the duration of one of the alternative perceptions vary considerably among individuals. This raises questions about the factors that induce this or that particular response with regard to this phenomenon, in a given individual.

The bistable perception can also be regarded as a special case of multi-stable perception, where only two different views are possible from the same stimulus.

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An instance of one-sideness bias

Let us consider the following (in deductive form) instance of the one-sidedness bias, mentioned by Philippe Boulanger (2000, p. 3)1. Ulam estimates that if a company were to achieve a level of workforce large enough, its performance would be paralysed by the many internal conflicts that would result. Ulam estimates that the number of conflicts between people would increase according to the square of the number of employees, while the impact on the work that would result would only grow as a function of . Thus, according to this argument, it is not desirable that the number of employees within a company becomes important. However, it turns out that Ulam’s reasoning is fallacious, as Boulanger points it out, for it focuses exclusively on the conflictual relations between employees. But the 2 relationships among the company employees can well be confrontational, but may include as well collaborative relationships that are quite beneficial for the company. And so there is no reason to favour conflictual relationships with respect to collaborative ones. And when among 2 relationships established between the company employees, some are genuine collaborative relationships, the effect is, instead, of improving business performance. Therefore, we can not legitimately conclude that it is not desirable that the workforce of a company reaches a large size.

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Dual poles

fig2The dual poles can de defined as neutral concepts, which come in pairs, and are such that each of them is defined as the opposite of the other. For example, internal can be defined as the opposite of external and symmetrically, external can be defined as the contrary of internal. In a sense, there is no primitive notion here and neither A nor Ā of the dual poles can be regarded as the primitive notion.

Examples of dual poles are: static, dynamic, internal, external, qualitative, quantitative, absolute, relative, diachronic, synchronic, etc..

The dual poles are neutral concepts, as well as simple qualities. They also differ from vague notions.

The dual poles are neutral concepts, i.e. concepts that present no ameliorative or pejorative nuance. In this sense, external, internal, concrete, abstract, etc.., are dual poles, unlike concepts such as beautiful, ugly, brave, which present either a ameliorative or pejorative shade, and are therefore non-neutral, since beautiful has a positive connotation and ugly has a pejorative connotation.

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