As mavericks often are, Egon Brunswik was ahead of his time. It is becoming increasingly apparent that our cognitive abilities are the result of the gradual evolution of neurochemical brain processes that record the often-ambiguous sensory cues we perceive from our external physical and social environment, as well as internal cues from memory, habitual patterns, and emotional and conceptual biases.

Marylyn Kramer
Wausau, Wis.

Brunswik’s failings as a scientist, one could say, weren’t from his lack of knowledge but his inability to convey his knowledge to the simpler mind. In his time, psychology was studying reaction, or cause and effect. Brunswik, on the other hand, was studying perception, a concept so similar but requiring such different rules of measurement. One could say that in Brunswik’s time, people were looking for black-and-white answers but Brunswik needed more complicated tools for his study.

Martin Smith
Greensboro, N.C.

From the Nature Index

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