Look in the Sky! Its a duck....a plane....Psychology?

Vote 0 Votes

Our bodies have the ability to quickly recognize events happening around us, such as our rapid fast reactions to a bear attack. The speed at which our brains comprehend and analyze the things we see is astounding.


Whether we know it or not, our peripheral vision is always at work analyzing our visual field. This is called spacial attention. Spacial Attention is the images our brain analyzes even before our eyes move to focus on a specific region. It's why if someone throws a giant rubber ball at our head, we have a split second inclination to move even before we fully see the ball soaring majestically towards us. These rapid responses have probably saved man kind thousands upon thousands of times.


Life motion is another function of our brains to process the things we see. By recognizing specific patterns such as the motion of a human body, or the flow of a liquid, our brain instinctively gives us an immediate idea of what we are seeing. So at night if I see to globes of light moving towards me, I would naturally be inclined to think a vehicle is barreling at me.

I personally experience this when I awake at night because the outline I can see of my backpack looks like a hunched over old man. So I go "Ahhh, there is an old man in my room!", but in actuality its just my perception based on the generic shape. Without detail in an image our brain fills in what we are seeing.


This raises the question of how our minds direct these intuitions and what objects we choose to identify with. Like human motion in a series of dots, demonstrated in lecture. Do we identify something because we see it in a large magnitude, or because its something we saw early on in our lives? So it acts as like a reference point? It would be interesting to see what various people see, within certain random objects, similar to a Rorschach test.


| Leave a comment

I like this because it is essentially talking about a person's ability to percieve things around them. Their perception. Intuition. It's the most valuable tool we have as human beings, because those without an ability to pick up on other people's feelings or the way the environment around them is convalescing will suffer.

Whether or not it has something to do with nature or nuture, I'm more inclined to say it's nature. I don't think you can learn perception. You're either born with it or your not. I guess you could say that certain life circumstances can help to hone it or bury it deeper within you, but the truth is that if you are a perceptive person, a curious person, you will seek out different experiences than that of someone who isn't. So I think it has to do with what we're born with.

Our spacial attention is certainly a natural wonder and a marvel of evolution. What's interesting to me on a psychological standpoint is why people fill in details in different ways. You say you see an old man in your room when you see a backpack at night. I see the same thing, monsters and murders in place of objects in my room. It's part of my phobia of the dark. I have to tell myself, "No, it's my lamp/tv/hamper/shadow." But why do I see such crazy things when other people would see a lamp, tv, hamper, or shadow? Why does my mind instinctively fabricate such elaborate imaginations?

spatial attention is fascinating, I think it would have been interesting for you to have given an example of when it could harm you.

The terms life motion and special attention are very interesting. It makes sense that our special attention would save mankind on a variety of times. This could even support the theory of natural selection and evolution because those who did not have nor had poor special attention or life motion would have been killed off by wild animals. This would be accurate because the majority of time humans have been on the planet we would have been prey to animal predators. Life motion would also be more applicable to fearing animals or unknown humans in our rooms when we wake up. So your example of your backpack scaring you would be a prime example of life motion and would even support the theory of evolution unlike the car example which could still be true and would need to be tested even more to see if cars are that ingrained in our amygdala.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by morri927 published on February 5, 2012 10:42 AM.

The Placebo Effect was the previous entry in this blog.

Nature AND Nurture? New Outlook on the Timeless Debate is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.