Moving to higher ground: The dynamic field theory and the dynamics of visual cognition

Jeffrey S. Johnson, John P. Spencer, Gregor Schöner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


In the present report, we describe a new dynamic field theory that captures the dynamics of visuo-spatial cognition. This theory grew out of the dynamic systems approach to motor control and development, and is grounded in neural principles. The initial application of dynamic field theory to issues in visuo-spatial cognition extended concepts of the motor approach to decision making in a sensori-motor context, and, more recently, to the dynamics of spatial cognition. Here we extend these concepts still further to address topics in visual cognition, including visual working memory for non-spatial object properties, the processes that underlie change detection, and the ‘binding problem’ in vision. In each case, we demonstrate that the general principles of the dynamic field approach can unify findings in the literature and generate novel predictions. We contend that the application of these concepts to visual cognition avoids the pitfalls of reductionist approaches in cognitive science, and points toward a formal integration of brains, bodies, and behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-251
Number of pages25
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

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