Perception.

Natural language is generally produced in response to some stimulus, be it internal (such as an antecedent thought or feeling state), or external (such as a question, experience, or task). The perceived qualities and conditions of the stimulus determine both the thoughts we have about it, and the natural language produced in response to it. Moreover, the processes of perception determine the very universe or boundaries of potential thoughts and feeling states available to the person for use in the expression of natural language. Therefore, when seeking to analyze natural language, one should consider at least a few of the perceptual mechanisms underlying the production and expression of thought. In this section, we discuss an essential few of them with respect to attention, pandemonium, and projection.
 

Attention.

The contemporary scientific literature on the phenomenon known as attention is increasingly revealing the formative role that attention plays in perception and cognition. Studies on focal attention reveal that the more central a stimulus is to the focus of attention, the more details about it are encoded by the individual. Similarly, the longer a person sustains attention on some aspect of the stimulus, the more it is encoded. Interestingly, an opposing pattern is also supported by research on inattentional blindness: the shorter the length of time that someone attends to an aspect of a stimulus, and the less central that aspect is to the focus of attention, the less the aspect is perceived and encoded.

Given the formative role that attention appears to play in perception and cognition, it is useful to understand those factors that influence it. Focused attention is a product of the qualities of the stimulus, basic sensory processes, perceptual processes, and higher-order psychological and social influences. Stimulus factors affecting focused attention include the relative duration, intensity, shape, and complexity of the aspect of the stimulus, as compared to other aspects of the stimulus, or other stimuli in the environment. Factors arising from basic sensory processes include individual variation in average sensory threshold and scale of noticeable difference for a given sensory input. Other basic sensory processes at work in attention are sensory adaptation and habituation. Affecting focused attention at the perceptual level are gestalt principles, such as proximity, closure, similarity, and continuity, as well as acquired perceptual sets. Finally, higher-order psychological and social influences such as one’s cognitive abilities and propensities, personality predispositions, learned associations, needs, motivations, and expectations, will also affect focused attention.

As may be apparent in this brief survey of influences on focused attention, such influences are multidirectional, and occur at multiple levels. Such multidirectional and multilevel processing is not unique to attention. Rather, such processing occurs throughout the chain of operations linking a stimulus to the expression of natural language. As such, a number of explanatory theories exist, each describing the particular manner of information processing occurring between specific links in the chain. These are generally grouped into either bottom-up or top-down approaches, and Raven’s Eye incorporates both of these kinds of approaches into its analyses.
 

Pandemonium.

Oliver Selfridge’s (1958) Pandemonium Model of Pattern Recognition is an often cited and prescient model of information processing, which describes the multiple levels of parallel processing underlying the perceptual detection and cognitive identification of a stimulus. It does so in an abstract manner, by proposing interactions between specialized, “demons,” such as those responsible for feature detection, cognition, and stimulus discrimination. Many scientists classify the Pandemonium Model of Pattern Recognition as a bottom-up approach to understanding of the construction of conscious experience.

Feature demons respond differentially to specific aspects of a perceived stimulus. They do so based on the degree to which one or more aspects of the stimulus appear to match the specific feature being monitored by that type of feature demon (such as a straight vertical line for one kind feature demon, a curved line for another, a horizontal line for still another, etc.). The more the perceived features of a stimulus match the type being monitored by a given kind of feature demon, the more active that kind of feature demons will become. Cognitive demons, in turn, monitor the activation of feature demons, and become active as the combined activation of these specific feature demons begins to match the criteria of the cognitive demon (a cognitive demon designed to react to the letter, “L,” for instance, would begin to activate as both the vertical line demon and horizontal line demon express increasingly concerted activation). The more active its constituent feature demons become, the more active the related cognitive demon becomes. Decision demons, in turn, monitor the activation of cognitive demons, and selectively discriminate between them by presenting the most active cognitive demon(s) to consciousness.

Excusing the figurative agency attributed to the demons in this abstract model, the essence of the pandemonium model is that our perceptions, and the conscious thoughts that are derived from them, are fundamentally expressions of relatively greater activation ratios among some specialized information processing apparati, as compared to others. In other words, we generally have multiple perceptions and thoughts resulting from exposure to a stimulus, and we become aware of them based on the intensity of their activation with respect to each other at any given time; the more active a given perception or thought (or group of perceptions or thoughts), the more it is incorporated into that moment’s conscious experience.

Since it’s inception, the Pandemonium Model of Pattern Recognition continues to be a foundational and fruitful concept in the cognitive sciences and psychology. It is, as well, concordant with contemporary neuroscience findings on patterns in neuronal activation, which are believed to reveal the physical and biological components of sensation, perception, and cognition. By utilizing relative proportion in its calculations, the algorithms underlying Raven’s Eye replicate the pandemonium model of information processing. As a result and according to this stalwart model, Raven’s Eye simulates the actual processes involved in the production of conscious human thought.

As noted previously, viable top-down approaches exist, which explain the chain connecting the expression of natural language to perception in an order typically opposing those of bottom-up models. Some of these explain portions of experience not otherwise accounted for by bottom-up approaches, such as the pandemonium model. Indeed, a large body of scientific literature indicates that perception, thought, and natural language expression are influenced by a number of apparently higher-order psychological and social factors, including among other things our personality configuration, mood states, and expectations. Their patent implication is that, in the moment of experience, we are not wholly objective observers uniformly interpreting sensations derived exclusively from that moment’s real conditions. Instead, what we experience in a given moment is a combination of both the stimuli present and our own particular psychologically and socially subjective state of being; the construction of reality involves both bottom-up and top-down approaches.

Raven’s Eye utilizes the concept known as projection to help us better isolate and discriminate between those influences arising from the raw stimulus, and those influences arising from the particular subjectivity that experiences it. Discussing these also reveal revolutionary features of Raven’s Eye.
 

Projection.

As with the other concepts discussed in these Technicals, several definitions of projection can be found in the scientific literature. For our purposes, our definition of projection is generally consistent with broader understandings of the phenomenon as espoused by such authors as Frank and Murray:
to the extent allowed by the ambiguity of a stimulus, people will understand it based on their individual predispositions, life experiences, current mood state, perceived needs and presses, learned associations, and expectations.

In this way, projection occurs when there are aspects of the stimulus that are in some way ambiguous to the observer. It involves the insertion of information derived from, or reinforced by, the aforementioned higher-order factors. As such, it involves several top-down processes, which are often summarily represented by the attitude one expresses about a given topic. Because, however, the pandemonium model posits that conscious perception and cognition resulting from exposure to a stimulus reflects the underlying ratio of activation among competing pre-conscious perceptions and thoughts, ambiguity is—at least to some extent—also present in bottom-up approaches. We therefore find projection to be part and parcel to everyday experience, be it constructed from bottom-up processes, top-down processes, or (more likely) a confluence of both.

The pervasive nature of projection does not, however, preclude the differentiation of its influences from those evoked by the stimulus. Indeed, the ability to reliably and quantitatively measure the effects of a stimulus on the production of natural language, while also differentiating them from projective influences, is an area in which Raven’s Eye provides new and revolutionary abilities. Unlike other methods for analyzing projective natural language information, which tend to involve lengthy and complicated scoring schemes that code participants’ words according to predetermined categories constructed by the researchers, Raven’s Eye utilizes an algorithmic and phenomenological approach. Because of this, it retains the language, relationships, and proportionality of expressed themes used within the sample being studied.

In this way, Raven’s Eye both provides detailed and comprehensive information about idiographic variation in projection, and also reduces unintended researcher projection during the interpretation of data. Remarkably, and at the same time, we also provide a standardized, reliable, and valid means of comparing natural language responses nomothetically. Whether your purpose involves greater understanding of the projections arising from an attribute of an individual with respect to those arising from his or her other attributes, or with respect to the projections arising from the same attribute in other individuals, Raven’s Eye revolutionizes your ability to identify the meanings people project via natural language.