Because of the ease with which we perceive, many people see perception as something that "just happens." However, even seemingly simple perceptual experiences involve complex underlying mechanisms, which are often hidden from our conscious experience. These mechanisms are being investigated by researchers and theorists in fields such as psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, and philosophy. A few examples of the questions posed by these investigations are, What do infants perceive? How does perception develop? What do perceptual disorders reveal about normal functioning? How can information from one sense, such as hearing, be affected by information from another sense, such as vision? How is the information from all of our senses combined to result in our perception of a coherent environment? What are some practical outcomes of basic research in perception? These are just a few of the questions this encyclopedia will consider, as it presents a comprehensive overview of the field of perception for students, researchers, and professionals in psychology, the cognitive sciences, neuroscience, and related medical disciplines such as neurology and ophthalmology.
E. Bruce Goldstein is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Tufts University, his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Brown University, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the biology department at Harvard University. He is author of the best-selling textbook, Sensation and Perception (currently in a seventh edition), as well as Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. He has published numerous papers on visual physiology and visual perception and served as editor of The Blackwell Handbook of Perception. He teaches sensation and perception, introductory psychology as a natural science, the psychology of gender, and the psychology of art, and in 2001 he received the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award.