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Jake Quilty-Dunn, "Perceptual Icons"

The primary function of perceptual processes is to output representations usable by cognitive and motor systems. This talk argues that some of those representations have an iconic, or image-like, representational format, and provides a model of how these icons are structured. Icons are a species of analog representation that "coordinate" analog feature values together. Iconic coordination is a sui generis form of compositionality that differs from predication. This "coordination model" of iconicity may be useful for characterizing iconic representations outside the mind (such as photographs) as well as perceptual icons. The difference between iconic and non-iconic (e.g., discursive) formats is also useful for characterizing joints between systems in the mind. For example, resource-based models of short-term memory have recently led some (e.g., Gross & Flombaum 2017) to challenge the decades-old division between iconic memory and visual working memory, but a difference in representational format can preserve this division.