Perceptual Illusions - Essay Example

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In some ways, it does bother me that some of what I see isn’t real because I depend on my perceptions to tell me what’s happening in the world around me.  The various illustrations that were provided illustrated that I could trust none of my perceptions to be accurate all the time…
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Perceptual Illusions
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Perceptual Illusions In some ways, it does bother me that some of what I see isn’t real because Idepend on my perceptions to tell me what’s happening in the world around me. The various illustrations that were provided illustrated that I could trust none of my perceptions to be accurate all the time. Whether it was determining whether something was moving, whether it was moving in the way that I thought it was moving or whether it was behind or in front of something else, none of my usual clues for determining these answers seemed to work. When I thought things were drawn in a spiral or in some other way, they were shown to be different – a series of circles or the layering of squares for example. Although I always thought it was natural and second-nature for my eye to pick up patterns and recognize them for what they were, the illusions that were presented at the website continued to illustrate how it was in the presentation of patterns that my eyes were most easily fooled into thinking something else was happening. Of course, once I’d read through the descriptions and had the patterns stop moving or the secret pointed out, I could easily see what they were talking about or why a particular effect occurred – at least on a general level (some of the descriptions seemed very technical and difficult). It is comforting to know that these illusions work on just about everyone and that the images presented are deliberate manipulations rather than typically naturally-occurring phenomena, but still disturbing to know that the mind can be so easily fooled.
I think the reason this bothers me so much is that I realize that the ability to accurately perceive what is happening around me is an important survival skill. If something is moving quickly, I use my perceptions to tell me just how quickly it is moving. This is important because first, I need to know how long it’s going to take that something to reach its destination, which might be my friend or my home or something that doesn’t matter in the slightest to me. But even if the something’s destination doesn’t matter at all to me, I need to know how fast it is moving so that I know whether I can outrun it or if I would need to stand and fight if it were to come moving toward me. It’s also important that I be able to tell which direction something is moving, whether it is moving toward me, away from me, to one side or the other or not moving at all. I can tell this by its relationship with other objects around it. For instance, if a cougar is running across a field, I can tell by what I can see of the shape of the cougar (long and horizontally stretched across the ground or foreshortened with just its head and shoulders visible) whether it is moving toward me or toward some other object just like I can tell from its relationship with the trees or other landmarks I see behind it how fast its moving. While I realize anyone living in the modern world has little to fear from rampaging cougars, it remains true that we need to beware of multiple moving objects at all times, often in settings that present just such manipulated environments as those featured in the illusions as we move around in the urban jungle.
Perhaps the reason why the illusions bother me is because it proves to myself that I cannot always rely on what my perceptions tell me about the world I live in. If this is true, what else might be outside of the range of my perception that I have always deemed entirely false. For instance, are the atmospheric vibrations some people perceive as ghosts actually there? Maybe not as ghosts per se, but something? Or maybe these manifestations or perceptions are simply more of the same kind of illusions that are presented on the website. Who is to say which is which when the phenomenon can’t be replicated? Even with the visual illusions, it is noted that there are some people who do not see the intended effects, so it can’t be defined by whether it can be seen by most people or even a majority of people, because then it must further be determined what the majority of people are and then greater than this majority must be tested. What this experience teaches me most of all is that I can not depend solely on my own experience as proof of fact based only on what I’ve seen. Read More
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