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Cascading transitions in multistable perception and cognition

Ms. Pelin Özsezer
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Prof. Han van der Maas
University of Amsterdam ~ Psychology
Dr. Michael D. Nunez
University of Amsterdam ~ Psychological Methods

Human nature comprises multilevel complex systems, and we hypothesize that these systems undergo critical changes through cascading transitions. For example, individuals who become extremists are often part of a massive societal shift, such as polarization. To model these complex systems, we aim to develop a general mathematical model of cascading transitions. For this purpose, two simplified cases will be tested: multifigure multistable perception and logical paradoxes. Our work builds on previous models and experimental studies of single multistable figure perception and binocular rivalry. We hypothesize that different cases of multifigure multistable perception and logical paradoxes can be represented as unique instances of the general model for cascading transitions. We will examine fundamental phenomena, create and test new predictions, and employ innovative experimental designs and recently developed psychophysiological measurement methods. In addition, we will apply eye-tracking and EGG techniques to novel situations. We will fit cascading transition models to psychophysiological data to advance our understanding of these models. Furthermore, we will expand this newly developed theory to include logical reasoning and multimodal perception. The expansion of a quantitative theory of cascading transitions will offer a tangible societal impact by improving our understanding of psycho-social systems. In conclusion, the core objective of this study is to examine whether the cascading transition model could serve as a thorough explanation for both multifigure multistable perception and logical paradoxes.



cascading transitions
multistable perception
electroencephalogram (EEG)

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Cite this as:

Özsezer, P., van der Maas, H., & Nunez, M. (2023, July). Cascading transitions in multistable perception and cognition. Abstract published at MathPsych/ICCM/EMPG 2023. Via