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Microgenesis, immediate experience and visual processes in reading

By Victor Rosenthal


The concept of microgenesis refers to the development on a brief present-time scale of a percept, a thought, an object of imagination, or an expression. It defines the occurrence of immediate experience as dynamic unfolding and differentiation in which the ‘germ’ of the final experience is already embodied in the early stages of its development. Immediate experience typically concerns the focal experience of an object that is thematized as a ‘figure’ in the global field of consciousness; this can involve a percept, thought, object of imagination, or expression (verbal and/or gestural). Yet, whatever its modality or content, focal experience is postulated to develop and stabilize through dynamic differentiation and unfolding. Such a microgenetic description of immediate experience substantiates a phenomenological and genetic theory of cognition where any process of perception, thought, expression or imagination is primarily a process of genetic differentiation and development, rather than one of detection (of a stimulus array or information), transformation, and integration (of multiple primitive components) as theories of cognitivist kind have contended. My purpose in this essay is to provide an overview of the main constructs of microgenetic theory, to outline its potential avenues of future development in the field of cognitive science, and to illustrate an application of the theory to research, using visual processes in reading as an example

Topics: Neuropsychology, Biophysics, Computational Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Philosophy of Mind, Neurophysiology, Behavioral Neuroscience
Publisher: Kluver
Year: 2002
OAI identifier:

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