Is perception discrete or continuous?

Trends Cogn Sci. 2003 May;7(5):207-213. doi: 10.1016/s1364-6613(03)00095-0.


How does conscious perception evolve following stimulus presentation? The idea that perception relies on discrete processing epochs has been often considered, but never widely accepted. The alternative, a continuous translation of the external world into explicit perception, although more intuitive and subjectively appealing, cannot satisfactorily account for a large body of psychophysical data. Cortical and thalamocortical oscillations in different frequency bands could provide a neuronal basis for such discrete processes, but are rarely analyzed in this context. This article reconciles the unduly abandoned topic of discrete perception with current views and advances in neuroscience.