Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Perception and illusion

Images and perception play a huge role in our lives. These two visual or optical illusions demonstrate this. The Impossible Chess Set is by Sandro Del Prete @ 1975 and next to it is a old crone, or is it a young ingenue? An optical illusion is a visually perceived image that, at least in common sense terms, is deceptive or misleading. The information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain to give, on the face of it, a "percept" that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source. It is the two dimensional affect of the magician's or artist's sleight of hand. Cognitive illusions are assumed to arise by interaction with assumptions about the world, leading to "unconscious inferences", an idea first suggested in the 19th century by Hermann Helmholtz. Cognitive illusions are commonly divided into ambiguous illusions, distorting illusions, paradox illusions, or fiction illusions (hallucinations).
It is always worthwhile when considering outcomes or possibilities to understand that we may not fully perceive the entire image or situation. In other words, illusion does not happen in just our visual field! We need to look at situations in our lives from as many perspectives as possible. This in turn will allow us to be more capable of seeing what is, rather than what we might wish something to be. Our own vanity often works against us, by locking us into a single set of perceptions rather than a willingness to consider all viewpoints. Take a step back, really take a moment (or several) to give your perception and ultimately your mind a chance to see the "big picture."

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