Date of Completion
hysteresis, negative hysteresis, visual perception, dynamical systems theory, ecological psychology
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
The present work addresses a particular problem that humans and other animals need to deal with while making their way through their environments. The environment always affords much more possibilities for action than one could engage in. How does an animal become attuned to one property of the environment and then switch to another one when the circumstances begin to change? What happens when one forces a human participant in an environment as much deprived of possibilities for action as could be possible? The conceptual and mathematical tools of dynamical systems theory and synergetics allow a good expression of the applicable ecological theory. The switches are phase transitions. Phase transitions imply instabilities. In all circumstances an instability is induced by breaking the loop of perceiving and acting, the circular coupling spanning a perceptual system, an action system, and the environment. In the first pair of experiments, we find that diminishing the action availability is responsible for negative hysteresis in an affordance boundary paradigm. Negative hysteresis is a phenomenon that offers a look one layer deeper into the dynamics of self-organized systems. In the second pair of experiments, we find that the same logic helps explain a classical phenomenon in vision science. The spontaneous switches between modes of perception observed with certain types of displays have the character of an instability. Under the conditions of constant environment deprived of possibilities for action the perceptual system enters a dynamical regime with no stable solution but only transiently stable alternating attractors.
Dotov, Dobromir, "Positive Hysteresis, Negative Hysteresis, and Oscillations in Visual Perception" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations. 231.