In a previous post, I discussed the scientific process of sight having very little to do with what we “see.” A couple of things came to mind this week, that inspired me to reflect a bit more on the subject.
#1. Driving around LA, I noticed banners promoting an installation at the Annenberg. BEAUTY CULTURE provides a seminal examination of photography’s role in capturing and defining notions of modern female beauty and how these images profoundly influence our lives in both celebratory and disturbing ways.
Stimulus is always present, but sometimes ignored by the brain as “uninteresting” or “unimportant.” Such ignored stimuli may have effects on the brain but will not reach consciousness. In addition, trying to concentrate on finding a particular object may lead one to ignore other features in the surrounding environment. This is known as Inattentional or Perceptual Blindness.
“Perceptual blindness” is a term used by cognitive psychologists, essentially identifying the principle that people have a much easier time seeing things when they know what they are looking for, and will not notice things that they are not familiar with.
The best-known study demonstrating perceptual blindness is the “Invisible gorilla test,” which was conducted by Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University. The basic Simons study was re-used on British tele.vision as a PSA (above video) designed to point out the potential dangers to cyclists caused by inattentional blindness in motorists. In the advertizement the gorilla is replaced by a moonwalking bear.
Only a small percentage of the population is likely to have seen that bear! Are you one of them? I wasn’t. I actively train my brain to look for certain things. Daily I run through a list of things I want to spot in myself and the world around me. Then I have an experience with BEing. I choose gratitude, thrill, forgiveness, laughter, joy. When I compliment her, my teenaged daughter will often say “Ugh mom, you only think that cause you love me.” And I say “YES! If you don’t see it for yourself, surround yourself with people like me!”
I DO take care of myself but not for vanity or insecurity but because I am grateful and worth it. Inside/out, I am changing daily. I love myself and looking in the mirror is more beautiful than it’s ever been.
So, What do you see?
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Peace and Blessings.