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`Perceptions' ITEM
Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson
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things perceived

strangely - always imaginary


No exaggeration - we humans really have to imagine all the things we `see'.

For the brain can't access optical views of the outside world.

[the photons we think we see are actually stopped by back of eye - any external photons getting into the brain are just passing through, like hard radiation, cosmic rays etc.]

What does arrive at the brain - is a picture suggested or imagined by the `old' or `lizard' ref-01 brain, then re-assembled by the brain's own neurons for our `conscious' brain to view.

It's all due to the way we - and all advanced mammals - have to wire-up our brains following birth. ref-02 & ref 03

Our ancestral need - to pre-emptively spot forest dangers - ensures that the brain `makes up' much of what we think is `real'. ref-04

"An examination of most of the data of vision would reveal no examples of what could be accurately called `correct' perception"
`Light and Vision'

This has been proven by repeated cruel experiments on intelligent higher animals and their babies.

Those experiments were mostly unnecessary, for when humans born blind accidentally gain the gift very late in life they describe the horrific and monstrous things they can 'see' - which are actually everyday objects.  Even familiar but previously unseen friends and relatives are `seen' as grotesque and threatening.

Many of these unfortunate folk turn to darkened rooms, or even suicide.
See Science News article.

`Perceptions' conclusion: that the unused templates are taken over by internal creations of the 'old brain' (lizard brain), which generates only FEAR / GREED / LUST / ANGER signals & stimuli. ref-01

Reference - "Perceptual learning and adaptation" Penguin Modern Psychology Readings 1970 - Penguin Books, for actual details - which are NOT for the sensitive, or maybe see "Going Inside" by John McCrone - 1999 Faber and Faber Limited, for a more discursive treatment and update.

A new-born human or dog or cat quickly has to confirm - by the use of its senses of touch, taste etc, along with vision - the widest possible range of shapes and textures and shades and colors.

If this isn't done during that vital early period the human or animal will never see "normally" - whatever that might mean.

Because all those angles, surfaces, textures, shapes and shadows are stored away for future association and use.

a weird universe?

`Alien Senses'

"There must be a lot out there that we have never learned to see at all -
- it's part of the real universe, but we can't get it into our brains"


`Perceptions, not Reality'

"We think we know what's out there in the physical world, but it's all interpreted by our brains.
Everything we sense is an illusion to a degree."


So, when `seeing' something really weird the observer can be very confused: not knowing what really ref-04 happened.
Because there was no "template" for the brain to model.


Multiple witnesses should always give multiple descriptions.

`Quantum' twists

Basic optical signals - from eyes - stimulate `old brain' to interpret, and only then project onto consciousness's viewing screen - at back of brain.

All this at neuron level - and perhaps subject to `quantum' uncertainty and `observer' choice'.  Maybe as a result, `time-splitting' and `time-reversal' often occur inside our brains:-

Simultaneous events can be `seen' as happening one after the other.
Worse, consecutive events: A » B, can be reversed: - seen by the brain as B » A.   EXAMPLE

UPDATE - Duggins et al
"We will review a standard derivation of the Inequality, and explain how it can be applied to the Moutoussis/Zeki paradigm. Surprisingly, the results of the original experiment suggest that the Inequality is violated, and thereby cast doubt on the 'microconsciousness' theory. ... Visual consciousness must then be considered non-local and inseparable: the microconsciousness does not exist."
- "Is the Bell Inequality Violated in Visual Perception?"

Brain's `choice' of `sequence & time'

Our primary perceptions (and reactions) are primitive - controlled by the `lizard brain' - fear / hatred or greed / lust.

I.e. a non-thinker, a racist, or bigot or bully or coward, always agrees with the `lizard brain'!

However, thinkers - using the `new brain' - can see through those illusions (with some effort).  Even so, that `lizard brain' also lies to us about basic physical facts!

Because the cerebellum (lizard brain) is in charge during routine action - walking / running / driving, while the `new brain' evaluates cognitive input - reading, conversation, calculation, there can be a clash of `timings' or `sequence' of physical events.

[Don't forget - we don't get a true, optical view of the outside world, just a consensus of the lizard brain's view perhaps amended by the new brain].

In crises, this can lead to a confusion of timings, or even reversals of sequence!


`Seeing' not necessarily `true'

For instance? - Walking round a corner - bumping into a stranger - How is s/he seen?

if you're feeling confident

the stranger is "seen" as shorter and smaller than in reality

hair/complexion is "seen" as thinner/paler

attitude is "seen" as more helpless

hands are "seen" to be empty, harmless

if you're feeling threatened

the stranger is "seen" as taller and heavier than in reality

hair/complexion is "seen" as thicker/darker

attitude is "seen" as more aggressive

rolled newspaper is "seen" as a club/weapon

How context (background, setting and even mood) changes what we can `see'

rubrick cube

the central "orange" square in shadow is the same colour as the central "brown" square on the top.
(Pic: Beau Lotto/Lottolab)

the red crosses in the centre of the two vertical faces are the same colour.
(Pic: Beau Lotto/Lottolab)

gray faces

the top grey and the bottom grey (inner, flat faces) are the same shade.
(Pic: Beau Lotto/Lottolab)

the two (inner, flat) brown faces are identical.
(Pic: Beau Lotto/Lottolab)

Maybe check:
reptilian fears         false witnesses

The Problem of Epistemology and Cosmic Models

"Here is the dilemma:  If a mind grasps its world by means of mental categories that have evolved solely to ensure the survival of that mind, there is no reason to assume that the world the mind grasps is the world as it is.  Many minds survive in this world, yet see the world in fundamentally different ways.  There is robin-world, bullfrog-world, wood-chuck-world, and housefly-world.  And there is human-world.  The world of each of these creatures is validated insofar as it ensures the survival of the creature, but no further.  The positivist assumes that a human mind grasps the world as it is, but from an evolutionary standpoint, there is no reason to make such an assumption.  Instead there are many reasons to assume an observed world differs from the world as it is.

The observer is neither neutral nor passive.  Rather, the observer, by the very act of observing, participates in and structures the world.  For the positivist, this dilemma is fatal.  Yet from a Darwinian perspective there is no reason to assume it is not true.  Ironically Darwinism leads to a logical cul-de-sac.  If the Darwinist is right, there is no reason to assume that the Darwinist can accurately model the world.  If the Darwinist is wrong, there is no reason to assume that the Darwinist can accurately model the world."

Ben M. Carter


Why everything you thought you knew about yourself is wrong

The Misconception:  Wine is a complicated elixir, full of subtle flavours only an expert can truly distinguish, and experienced tasters are impervious to deception.

The Truth:  Wine experts and consumers can be fooled by altering their expectations.

An experiment in 2001 at the University of Bordeaux had wine experts taste a red and white wine, to determine which was the best.

They dutifully explained what they liked about each wine but what they didn't realise was that scientists had just dyed the same white wine red and told them it was red wine.

The tasters described the sorts of berries and tannins they could detect in the red wine as if it really was red.

Another test had them judge a cheap bottle of wine and an expensive one.  They rated the expensive wine much more highly than the cheap, with much more flattering descriptions.  It was actually the same wine.

This drives home the idea that reality is a construction of the brain. You don't passively receive the outside world, you actively construct your experience moment by moment.

The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy
The Misconception:  We take randomness into account when determining cause and effect.

The Truth:  We tend to ignore random chance when the results seem meaningful or when we want a random event to have a meaningful cause.

Imagine a cowboy shooting at the side of a barn over and over again with a gun.  The side of the barn fills up with holes.  If you walk over and paint a bullseye around clusters of holes it will make it look like you have made quite a lot of correct shots.

It's a metaphor for the way the human mind naturally works when trying to make sense out of chaos.  The brain is very invested in taking chaos and turning it into order.

Confirmation Bias
The Misconception:  Your opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis.

The Truth:  Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information that confirmed what you believed, while ignoring information that challenged your preconceived notions.

Any cognitive bias is a tendency to think in one way and not another whenever your mind is on auto-pilot; whenever you're going with the flow.

Confirmation bias is a tendency to pay attention to evidence that confirms pre-existing beliefs and notions and conclusions about life and to completely ignore other information. This happens so automatically that we don't even notice.

Say you have a flatmate, and you are arguing over who does most of the housework, and both people believe that they do most of the work.  What is really happening is that both people are noticing when they do the work and not noticing when they don't.

Brand Loyalty
The Misconception:  We prefer the things we own over the things we don't because we made rational choices when we bought them.

The Truth:  We prefer the things we own because we rationalise our past choices to protect our sense of self.

There are at least a dozen psychological effects that play into brand loyalty, the most potent of which is the endowment effect:  you feel like the things you own are superior to the things you don't.  When you buy a product you tend to connect the product to your self-image, then once it's connected to your self-image you will defend it as if you're defending your own ego or belief structure.

The Misinformation Effect
The Misconception:  Memories are played back like recordings.

The Truth:  Memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes them highly permeable to influences from the present.

You might think your memory is a little fuzzy but not that it's completely inaccurate.  People believe that memory is like a video or files stored in some sort of computer.  But it's not like that at all.  Memories are actually constructed anew each time that you remember something.

Each time you take an old activation sequence in your brain and re-construct it; like building a toy airplane out of Lego and then smashing the Lego, putting it back into the box, and building it again.  Each time you build it it's going to be a little bit different based on the context and experience you have had since the last time you created it.

Confirmation of `Wine-tasters BS'

Are there some simple rules?

Yes! - But they don't seem all that sensible -

1 - No-one can see a true - accurate - image of reality.

2 - No two people see same image of reality, not even from different angles, not even if both view at same time.

3 - Brain may `choose' realities unconsciously or even consciously.

4 - Each`memory' is seen as `true' - although maybe altered, or even reversed, more than once

Studies and examination show that - "the more specific the detail, the less likely the memory is to be accurate".

These known `truths' are still being denied by some scientists, police ID paraders, "beauty" experts, and politicians ... and folk who argue in bars.

strange ?

Some rigged examples?

Are these "real"?

triangle?           triangle?


white-topped blocks stepping down to right


white-bottomed blocks over-lapping up to left




small young woman looks to her right


large old dame looks to your left

how wide?

Illusion created by Mario Ponzo (1913)
Image credit: Tony Phillips



Spirals? Or Circles?

Fraser's `Spiral' Illusion
Try covering half the image - or tracing one circle with a pencil


Akiyoshi's Illusion Pages

Bach's 75 Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena

Zamora's Illusions and Paradoxes

Quotation from `Light and Vision' - joint editors C.P. Snow (British Ministry of Technology), Prof. Henry Margenau (Yale University), Prof. René Dubois (The Rockefeller University)

`Mind Papers'


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Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson

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