Side Light 2

Question Your Perception

Looking at this picture, what do you see? 

Look at this one, what do you see? 

Here's one more, what do you see?

Do you see the profiles of 2 men facing each other, do you see the chalice in the middle?

Here's a front shot, and a profile. See how fast your can switch between seeing the front shot and profile.....back and forth, back and forth.  That's how your brain visually perceives things, one thing at a time.

There's a guy playing the sax, or a woman's face. That's your perception, that's how your brain works, although here in a visual capacity.  Looking at one picture, you can see two different things, but never see them simultaneously.

But here's the kicker, watch the spinning dancer.  What do you see?

Here's what happened to me the first I watched.  I saw her spinning around and I said, "Ya, so what?"  And I clicked around and went looking for something on my desk and looked back at her and I thought, is she spinning the other way now? At first I thought, "someone on the host site was was watching me and as I turned away, they switched the way she was spinning!"  Then I thought, no way, get a grip, that didn't happen.....  Then I thought, she's always been spinning that way, what was I thinking that she changed direction, my brain started screaming at me, "No, no, no, she didn't change direction, she always spun that way, what are you stupid!!!!"  So I tried one more time.  I looked at her and saw that she was spinning counter-clockwise, as looking at her from the top down, and I wrote that down, and the time too: counter-clockwise - 10:16.  Then I messed around with a few things on my desk for a few minutes, and then out of the corner of my eye I notice she might have changed direction, so I looked back at her, pictured what she looks like from the top down, and sure enough, she was spinning clockwise, so I wrote that down - clockwise - 10:18.

So at that point, I told my primitive brain, see, you were wrong, here's the data.  And my primitive brain thought for a second......., and said, "Ya......, Okay..., you're right, I guess..., ah, ya, what was I thinkin'?"  Well, what I was thinking at that point was the evolutionary more primitive part of my brain (Austrolopithecus or Homo habilis maybe?) dominating my thought, instinctively screaming at me saying no no no, she didn't change direction, what are you, an idiot!  Then the more recently developed neocortex (Homo Sapiens) kicked in and questioned the more primitive thought process, and the neocortex  (root meaning "new brain") was able to provide the data, what I wrote down, as evidence that my primitive brain thought processes were wrong, and my primitive brain had to admit that it was wrong.  And I'll tell you, it was none too pleased to have to do that. Note that our perceptions and gut reactions, and emotions that go with those perceptions, are not always correct.

So the next time you're in a political face to face discussion that gets all hot and bothered and your brain is screaming at you that what the other person is saying is totally ridiculous, note that this is the primitive brain kicking into overdrive and dominating your thought process. So instead of having a shouting match which is completely useless, try and get your neocortex involved, listen, take mental notes, calm down, gather evidence in your head, and respond in a rational low key manner. This will do one of two things to the person with which you are having a discussion: they will calm down a bit too, start to digest your information, and the discussion will continue in a more civil manner, each exchanging and digesting the others viewpoints, or they'll get even more pissed off and start screaming even louder and making all kinds of nasty gestures and facial expressions, at which point it's useless to continue the argument, they aren't listening, the primitive brain is dominating, so think of some polite exit strategy or change the subject of discussion, and move on.

Want to really question your perception?  Put a mirror next to the spinning dancer so you can see two of them, and at times they will both be spinning in the same direction, which is a scientific (physics) impossibility. Always question your perception. For more detailed discussion on the spinning dancer and brain function, check out the spinning dancer at wikipedia:


Video Summary

9 minute video

9 minute read