Roger Shepard's proposals and supporting experiments concerning evolutionary internalized regularities have been very influential in the study of vision and in other areas of psychology and cognitive science. This paper examines issues concerning the need, nature, explanatory role, and justification for postulating such internalized constraints. In particular, I seek further clarification from Shepard on how best to understand his claim that principles of kinematic geometry underlie phenomena of motion perception.
My primary focus is on the ecological validity of Shepard's kinematic constraint in the context of ordinary motion perception. First, I explore the analogy Shepard draws between internalized circadian rhythms and the supposed internalization of kinematic geometry. Next, questions are raised about how to interpret and justify applying results from his own and others' experimental studies of apparent motion to more everyday cases of motion perception in richer environments. Finally, some difficulties with Shepard's account of the evolutionary development of his kinematic constraint are considered.
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