Perception, illusions, visualization, memory, learning, and development
We are what we think. All that we are arise with our thoughts,. With our thoughts, we make the world. Buddha
Questioning is the basis of all learning.
Perception is an individual construction of reality, which are not snapshots of reality that can be called up to discover facts that have not been constructed and stored in our memories.
For example: if people are asked to draw a picture of a penny, you can get a variety of results, as below. Memory is a construction created by our personal experiences, biases, emotions, context, and environment.
Perceptions originate from our senses and how they are connected and stuctured in our brain.
For example, words aren't just used to describe our perceptions they are processed differently in different parts of our brain. Samples:
- He passed last week after a long battle with cancer.
- She passed the ball.
- We just passed our turn off.
Brain and memory
Which penny is an accurate representation?
Hard to tell?
Memory is an inaccurate representation, not reality. If it isn't universal, can it be reality? See also Arguments, reasoning, logic, and proof.
Memories, such as eye witness accounts, used to be the gold standard of court testimony are becoming more and more questionable.
Eye witness facts
- According to hundreds of studies over the past 30 years, there is almost nothing less reliable than what an eyewitness thinks he saw. Being at a crime scene is worse with variables such as stress and the presence of a weapon.
- Of 297 cases overturned by DNA evidence in the U. S. more than 70 were based on eyewitness testimony.
- Gary Wells conducted a study where people waiting in a room witnessed a thief (a Well's confederate) steal an object valued at several hundred dollars. Even with good lighting and close proximity nearly 70% of the participants identified the wrong person in a six person photographic lineup.
- Wells has found that when people make a wrong choice and are given confirmatory feedback, they are more likely to believe they have made a correct identification and when on the witness stand say things like, "I will never forget that face as long as I live." As happened in 1985 in Georgia when Jennifer Thompson testified with certainty that Ronald Cotton raped her. After ten years in jail DNA evidence proved another man guilty.
- Roy Malpass found that the instructions given to witnesses can greatly affect the choices they make. Simply saying, "the suspect may or may not be in the this lineup" reduces wrong choices by 45 percent. Additional studies suggest a double blind method should be used with those working on a case not being present at a lineup or suspect identification.
Memories are malleable and can be changed.
Illusion is an experience where our perceptions are different than reality.
Red lines illusion
Which of the red lines is longer?
Table top illusion
Which table is longer?
Table illusion - See an animation? of one of the table tops being moved on top of the other tale top.
Moving dots illusion
Stare at the dots and see them move ...
People on a sidewalk illusion
Which person is smaller? Larger? Medium?
Up or Down illusion
Is it up or down?
Inside or outside? Are you looking at the inside or outside of the pamphlet?
How Much Haze?
What is the average length of the lines?
Which eyes are scarier?
Snake slither - humans respond with a fight, flight, or freeze reaction to a snake in .005 seconds. They recognize it later, after the fact, at .05 maybe.
The brain fills in missing information
What do you recognize in the black and white image below?
An unconscious mind fills in the gaps.
See how your brain fills in the gaps when reading these two pieces:
- phony phonics &
- number reading
Black dots illusion
How many black dots?
- Notice, when you focus on a single dot, it turns white.
- The black dots appear around your area of focus, not within it. This is because the brain is affected by the dominance of the black squares and thinks the dots must be negative.
- In fact, none of the dots are black, they are all white.
Skull or Lady illusion
Skull or Lady?