Archive for the ‘How the brain sees’ Tag

Capturing the Moment — “Misty Watermelon Memories”   2 comments

Misty Watermelon Memories by Nancy Parsons

My good friend and artist, Nancy Parsons posted her latest painting on her blog, “Head on down the highway. . .” in which she uses the technique of painting from a photograph placed up-side-down. It’s funny how sometimes the brain can distort reality. That might be the result of our three-dimensional experience being recorded as a two-dimensional image, which is the very reason we use perspective. We know that parallel lines never meet, yet to give them truth, the two-dimensional drawing must give the appearance of meeting on down the road — depth of field. This can be good, but what if the painting is “real-life” in terms of a photo? Painting from a photo that is up-side-down can decrease the influence of previous experiences and the games we may play in conveying a three-dimensional experience in a two-dimensional world, allowing for a better aperture of truth — depth of field.

Recent research has found that by making use of a visual illusion in which the presentation of a horizontal line makes a subsequent circle look like an ellipse. In a study conducted by Watson and Krekelberg, the line was presented to research participants immediately before an eye movement. Under current how the brain sees theory, the line would be eliminated from visual processing and one would expect participants to report a subsequently presented circle to look like a circle. While the research participants did not recall seeing the line, the image they reported seeing was not a circle but rather an ellipse. In other words, the participants experienced the illusion, even though they were not aware of the line that causes the illusion. The brain tends to take “the path of least resistance.” What is known is that the brain did process the line. What is not known is the give and take process between perceptual stability and perceptual discrimination. 

For me, photography is the aperture for expressing what’s truth. Trying to understand how the brain sees can be of great value in knowing when and how to adjust the aperture.



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