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Biotech Science

Scientists Find Believing Can Be Seeing 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-mind-is-quicker-than-the-eye dept.
Ponca City, We Love You writes "Scientists at University College London have found the link between what we expect to see, and what our brain tells us we actually saw revealing that the context surrounding what we see is all important — sometimes overriding the evidence gathered by our eyes and even causing us to imagine things which aren't really there. A vague background context is more influential and helps us to fill in more blanks than a bright, well-defined context. This may explain why we are prone to 'see' imaginary shapes in the shadows when the light is poor. "Illusionists have been alive to this phenomenon for years," said Professor Zhaoping. "When you see them throw a ball into the air, followed by a second ball, and then a third ball which 'magically' disappears, you wonder how they did it. In truth, there's often no third ball — it's just our brain being deceived by the context, telling us that we really did see three balls launched into the air, one after the other." The original research paper is available on PLOS, the open-access, peer-reviewed journal."
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Scientists Find Believing Can Be Seeing

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  • Is this actually news?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by susub23 (1152089)
      It may not be a breaking news story, but it's definitely interesting. I think we all have had things like this happen, and I guess I'm not surprised that it's triggered more by vague context. I've always just figured people were exaggerating when they describe stories about things that happened and someone else calls them out on it - but they probably thought they really saw what they claimed to see.
    • Re:News? (Score:5, Funny)

      by owlnation (858981) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:29AM (#22501250)

      Is this actually news?
      Only if you choose to see it that way.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is this actually news?
      Not at all, but look at it from both sides. If you did believe what the article confirms then believing might really be seeing (can't be proven as what you just read might not be what you thought it was), and if you didn't believe it then the article confirmed that too ;-)
  • by somersault (912633) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:06AM (#22501114) Homepage Journal
    When you're out driving, you have to be more aware of the possible dangers that you will be facing, like cyclists and motorcyclists. A lot of people don't see them coming at junctions because they're just looking out for cars on the road..
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When I'm driving, I only really notice things that move. Everything else kind of escapes my attention, as if it's not there at all.
      All about training i guess, but it's an annoying habbit..
      • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:22AM (#22501204)
        When I'm driving, I only really notice things that move.

        What are you, a T-Rex? ^_^
      • by somersault (912633) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:25AM (#22501228) Homepage Journal
        Indeed. I took an Advanced Drivers training course from a police officer about a month ago, it really 'opened my eyes' so to speak. I'd been pretty appalled at my driving before, I didn't see any reason to keep to speed limits, but once you start trying to take in all the information you can from roadsigns and such, and you go on a skid course that demonstrates the braking distance difference between 20 and 30mph, you start to see the justification in having 20 limits outside schools and stuff like that. Save driving isn't about driving slowly of course - you can be perfectly safe at 110 (our instructor demonstrated this on a long straight, was funny to be doing that kind of speed legally :D ), but as you say training is very useful to get your brain noticing the right kind of things and not just going along on autopilot. After a while your driving will of course automatically incorporate the things that you have trained yourself to look out for, but it's still best to keep an active interest in what's happening all around your vehicle. I feel a bit of a hypocrite talking about road safety after the reputation I got for speeding around all the time, but hey I've not got any points on my license and I've not had an accident for a few years, because I was still sticking within what I considered to be my personal safety limits..
        • by hitmark (640295)
          and thats why some ations demand those kinds of things before they allow you to drive just about anything...
        • I feel a bit of a hypocrite talking about road safety after the reputation I got for speeding around all the time, but hey ... I've not had an accident for a few years
          Sort of like a deli boasting about remaining accident-free for 4 days.
          • by somersault (912633) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:30AM (#22502766) Homepage Journal
            Well, considering I've only been driving for a 'few years' and the accidents I had were within 6 months of my test :P Not exactly boasting, just saying that I don't consider my driving pre that course to have been reckless, especially compared to the average driver. The difference now is that I *know* that I'm a lot better than the average driver, and have been told so by someone that's been a police driving instructor for about 30 years. A lot of the things we were taught were things that I've been doing naturally (possibly partially because I was first taught to drive by my dad, who used to be in the police himself before becoming a coder), and I've unlearned some bad habits that I picked up over the years. I'm also obeying speed limits more now (not the ones on country roads, but in built up areas I am), but I don't going slower to be the primary reason for improved safety (or, rather, reduction of elements that could present a danger, since 'safety' can only really be seen in retrospect through a lack of accidents really), I see more my going slower as a result of firstly having more respect for the law through having been driving with a police officer and hearing that they understand that speed is not a primary factor in defining how safe a driver you are, and two it is a side effect of paying more attention - when I first was trying to take in everything like road signs that I'd never seen before, I automatically was driving at about 20mph just trying to get used to looking at them again, as well as reading them out. Now I can do my sign observations at any speeds, but since I got used to travelling at 30 without being too bored, I've been able to keep my speed down, and long may it continue (just because I feel guilty breaking the speed limits even when I know it's "safe" to do so!)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sholden (12227)
        You mean things like stop signs, traffic lights, broken down cars blocking the lane, 5 year olds standing still at the side of the road?

    • by theaveng (1243528)
      I don't understand people who "see things" where nothing exists. Like the Face on Mars. Okay yes it kinda, sorta looks like a face. HOWEVER it also looks like a bunch of rocks, which is what it is (later images confirm this). People need to learn to Question what they see, rather than just blindly believe.
      • by jellomizer (103300) * on Thursday February 21, 2008 @02:32PM (#22505570)
        Conditioning.
        Take a normal English Class. The bulk of the class is trying to teach people to get meaning out of litature and learning to read between the lines to get the underlining meaning. So you learn that you get an A+ when you read when Tess got off the tractor and her hands felt numb, then translate it to the numbing dehuminizing effect of the approaching indrustral revolution. Vs. a C+ when you read the the same part and you stated it was a means to express the feeling that you get after you ride a tractor for a long time, the author probably wrote it because most people who is his book proably isn't a farmer, so they would be learning how it feels to drive a tractor.
        We are trained to look so deeply and make meaning out of everything that it has driven our society batty. 20 Years ago a local grocery store called Price Chopper use to have a picture of a coin with a woman face on it with an Axe cutting the coin, the had to change the image of the coin because people beleaved that it was portraiting woman abuse. With the downfall of Science and Math education we are loosing the ability to see things at face value.
        • by ndogg (158021)

          Take a normal English Class...people beleaved that it was portraiting woman abuse...we are loosing the ability...
          Still bitter over that C+ you got in that English class, huh?
          • Nah I earned those C+ for that particular class I switched to Pass Fail to avoid having it hurt my GPA. I just remember that one question and the teachers absurd meaning form that one sentence. (where the meaning had nothing to do with the rest of the book) It made more sense for my meaning because the character was working on the farm, but no references to the industrial revolution.
    • A few years ago, I read an article about commercial pilot trainning, and in particular landing. In simulator exercises where they put an obstacle (an other plane stopped in the middle of the runway), a large number of trainees simply did not see the obstacle and crashed into it because they were too busy handling the landing to notice something they weren't expecting.
  • by Ixlr8 (63315) <[L.Mol] [at] [ewi.tudelft.nl]> on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:09AM (#22501134) Homepage
    ... is the direct translation of a dutch expression. Also encountered as "First see it, only then believe it."

    But apparently we (the dutch) are completely wrong.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:50AM (#22501408) Homepage Journal
      ``But apparently we (the dutch) are completely wrong.''

      On the contrary. I think the saying is there exactly _because_ we naturally tend to do things the other way around. We believe something, and then we try to fit the evidence to our beliefs. The saying tells us to regard the evidence, and base our beliefs on that.
      • by initialE (758110)
        This i believe is related to a Dilbert principle: People act, then rationalize what they did, rather than observe the issues and act upon them. Our minds are naturally wired to think fourth dimensionally it appears.
    • But apparently we (the dutch) are completely wrong.

      Only because you eat salty liquorice and herrings. ;-P

  • Pretty old news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:10AM (#22501140)
    As the summary noted, this is something that people have known about for a very long time. More specifically, this same subject was being discussed on the same website almost eight years ago [sciencedaily.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Exactly. Vision is all in the brain -- you don't "see" with your eyes, you "see" with your brain. And your brain naturally filters what it sees. Sometimes these filters are wrong -- they make up stuff that isn't there. Conversely, many times you don't see something because you don't expect to see it. How many times have you went looking for some place that you wanted to go by looking it up online and then when you get there you go "Why, I must've driven by this place a thousand times and never even kne
    • More specifically, this same subject was being discussed on the same website almost eight years ago
      Odd, I didn't know Zonk was the editor of Science Daily.
    • by ShakaUVM (157947)
      Yeah, this is old news.

      Something like 10 or 20 years ago they found that more neurons went into the visual pathway than out of it. And various optical illusions have demonstrated this for decades.

      You literally do see what you expect to see.
  • by nexuspal (720736) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:12AM (#22501142)
    All of the police officer shootings where the victim had a remote or other non-nefarious object in their hands. It is quite possible that the officer had a mindset to the effect that, hey this guy probably has a gun, and his or her mind see's what they wanted to see.
    • by zulater (635326)
      possibly, but under such stress it's easier to shoot first then ask questions which is why it's smart to not have anything in your hands and to not make sudden, quick, jerky movements. Cops have to deal with nefarious people daily and must be on their toes at all times. If you have something in your hand and you turn and point it at a cop you should expect to die of acute lead poisoning fairly soon and be thankful if you just get yelled at.
      • having all police routinely armed is a bad idea.
    • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:04AM (#22501536) Homepage

      It is quite possible that the officer had a mindset to the effect that, hey this guy probably has a gun, and his or her mind see's what they wanted to see.
      I doubt that all of the cops who shot innocent people because they thought they saw a gun in his hands wanted to see a gun. Some of them were probably afraid that a gun was what they saw, and reacted to that fear. Remember the Wizard's First Rule: "People will believe a lie either because they want to believe it's true or because they are afraid it might be true."
      • by nexuspal (720736)
        "Remember the Wizard's First Rule: "People will believe a lie either because they want to believe it's true or because they are afraid it might be true.""

        Never heard that one before, but man is it accurate, esp regarding various cults and religions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nasor (690345)
      The first thing that came to mind for me is that this is even more evidence that eye-witness testimony isn't a reliable source of information in criminal trials. If I was ever serving on a jury and the only evidence was someone's eye-witness testemony, I'm not sure I could ever consider that proof "beyond a reasonable doubt."
      • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0307197/ [imdb.com] (american title: Murder on a Sunday Morning) is a documentary made by a french filmmaker on the US judciary system. He picked a murder trial almost at random and filmed it from the start. This should have been an easy trial, the guy was arrested 100m away from the murder, was recognized by the victim husband and signed a detailed confession, until the judge understood that the guy could not be guilty and the police poorly made up the evidences to charge a randomly picked
  • I don't understand people who "see things" where nothing exists. Like the Face on Mars. Okay yes it kinda, sorta looks like a face. HOWEVER it also looks like a bunch of rocks, which is what it is (later images confirm this).

    People need to learn to Question what they see,
    rather than just blindly believe.
    • Here's an example (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kahei (466208) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:39AM (#22501306) Homepage

      Well, here's an example. Suppose some guy picks up various scattered bits of facts -- a story on slashdot here, something about Mars kooks there. Now, he has an instinct -- or maybe it's hardwired at an even lower level than that -- to make up patterns around those scattered facts, to fill in the blanks. So he imagines a category of people who 'see things where nothing exists'. Before long, he's convinced enough of this specific phenomenon -- of this entity which is purely a product of his own tendency to create patterns to explain the phenomena he senses -- that he actually starts posting about this group of people on slashdot, as if there actually were one specific kind of person who has this trait!

      And then other factors, psychological, move him to assume that he's 'better' than this entity that has popped up in his mind and that he now believes is an actual thing. He even begins to give patronising advice. To him, it's just as if he's *interacting* with this thing, this 'people who see things where nothing exists'. His self-deception is complete!

      Far fetched? Maybe. But maybe not...

      HTH

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        grandparent had a very good point, and you have to go insult him. You know, even if he did act like he was better than them... guess what: he is. People who are capable of overcoming their imagination and sticking to reality ARE BETTER PEOPLE.
        • by digitig (1056110)

          grandparent had a very good point
          So did parent (to your post).

          People who are capable of overcoming their imagination and sticking to reality ARE BETTER PEOPLE.
          In what sense of "better"?
          • In what sense of "better"?
            It's harder to bullshit them. In a time when politicians, clergymen, and businessmen obtain the trust and obedience of others through lies and deceit, that's a valuable trait.
            • by digitig (1056110)
              But all progress is down to those who don't "overcome their imagination and stick to reality". In fact, surely it's the person of imagination who is most likely to challenge those politicians, clergymen and businessmen, because they're the ones who imagine that things might not be the way that they're told. "Sticking to reality" might be fine if we really /knew/ what reality was, but pretty much everything we know about reality is to some extent speculative, and in that context "sticking to reality" is a sy
    • That's more about optical illusions and imagination - the summary talks about thinking you saw a ball when in fact there was none, which is a bit different. IMO it helps to explain why people's memories can be modified so easily by suggestion, and as I said above, why so many people don't actually see motorcyclists coming as they check a junction before they move onto a new road. This is more about situations where you're not actually questioning what you see, because you're not really expecting any funny b
  • "Illusionists have been alive to this phenomenon for years," said Professor Zhaoping


    "Alive to this phenomenon" is precisely how an illusionist would want you to perceive the effects of their knowing how something really was. What a perfect idiom.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:33AM (#22501260) Homepage Journal
    because this is about the only thing which explains my friend and his girlfriends belief in Ghosthunters and such...

    I always looked at things this article covers along the lines of we make a decision and justify it later, not the reverse.
    • by tyrione (134248)
      Just to play devil's advocate: We don't see the vast majority of the Wavelengths in the Universe. We know they exist because we devised a means of measuring their signal-to-noise ratio and much more.

      If I phase in and out of the range of human perception, am I a ghost? Or am I shifting between time phases resulting in different lines of a multiverse?

  • by Ozric (30691) <ozric&tampabay,rr,com> on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:36AM (#22501288)
    The Buddhist Monks have known this for a very very long time.
    • by JohnFluxx (413620)
      lots of people knew lots of things. The question is, did they prove it using the scientific principle?
      • by bug1 (96678)
        Read about epistemology, the work of Berkley, Descartes... nothing about the mind is really proven.

        Scientific principle doesnt mean much if we cant believe what we see.
        • by JohnFluxx (413620)
          This is a huge logic flaw. There's degrees of certainty.

          Any decent scientific experiment will attempt to remove human bias etc. Just because you can't prove anything 100%, doesn't mean everything is equally valid.

          If one group said "we don't believe in ghosts" and another group said "we could not find any evidence for ghosts, despite extensive testing" then which opinion would you trust more?
  • by blunte (183182) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:40AM (#22501308)
    18 observers is enough? Not that I necessarily disagree with the results they've gathered in this study, but the sample group seems awfully small....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      18 observers is enough? Not that I necessarily disagree with the results they've gathered in this study, but the sample group seems awfully small....

      I think 640 observers would have been more like it...

  • The summary says scientists have found the link, but the reality is more like they have proven the link. As TFS itself says, Illusionists have been alive to this phenomenon for years.

    The most important thing one learns in art school is how to see. By this I mean that non-artists see like non-mathemeticians calculate.

    Now I have to go and read the research paper.
    • The summary says scientists have found the link, but the reality is more like they have proven the link. As TFS itself says, Illusionists have been alive to this phenomenon for years.

      The history books will have you believe that Columbus discovered America, but the Aztecs had been alive to this continent for years.
      People believe Volta invented the electric battery, but someone in Baghdad had one thousands of years ago.

      In science it's not important if some native already knew about a datum, what counts is who shared this information with the scientific community. Magicians are hermetic about the secrets they know, scientists have to figure them out on their own, since those quick-fingere

  • The human mind sees what it wants to see while sober, and this tendency becomes even worse after a few drinks. That's why one should never look for a relationship while wearing beer goggles. It's hard enough to see through a woman's bullshit without booze clouding your judgment.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by framauro13 (1148721)
      While your statement is 100% correct, normally when I'm wearing beer goggles I'm looking for something other than a relationship :)
      • While your statement is 100% correct, normally when I'm wearing beer goggles I'm looking for something other than a relationship :)
        I was tempted to advise against looking for poontang while drunk, but I figured that that wouldn't go over too well around here.
  • by ardle (523599) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:03AM (#22501528)
    "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" - Chico Marx dressed up as Groucho in "Duck Soup" (context information serves as anti-pedantry device).
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:14AM (#22501664) Homepage
    What the article doesn't say is that this phenomenon increases in middle age, both with respect to seeing and hearing. I'm not sure how much is due to actual declines in visual and auditory acuity; I'm inclined to think it's a cognitive effect, like common memory loss.

    I've always supposed Lewis Carroll's poem, from _Sylvie and Bruno,_ was referring to this effect. Certainly "He thought he saw... he looked again and found it was..." is happening to me more frequently.

    He thought he saw an Elephant,
    That practised on a fife:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A letter from his wife.
    "At length I realise," he said,
    "The bitterness of Life!"

    He thought he saw a Buffalo
    Upon the chimney-piece:
    He looked again, and found it was
    His Sister's Husband's Niece.
    "Unless you leave this house," he said,
    "I'll send for the Police!"

    He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
    That questioned him in Greek:
    He looked again, and found it was
    The Middle of Next Week.
    "The one thing I regret," he said,
    "Is that it cannot speak!"

    He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
    Descending from the bus:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Hippopotamus.
    "If this should stay to dine," he said,
    "There won't be much for us!"

    He thought he saw a Kangaroo
    That worked a coffee-mill:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Vegetable-Pill.
    "Were I to swallow this," he said,
    "I should be very ill!"

    He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
    That stood beside his bed:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Bear without a Head.
    "Poor thing," he said, "poor silly thing!
    It's waiting to be fed!"

    He thought he saw an Albatross
    That fluttered round the lamp:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Penny-Postage Stamp.
    "You'd best be getting home," he said:
    "The nights are very damp!"

    He thought he saw a Garden-Door
    That opened with a key:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Double Rule of Three:
    "And all its mystery," he said,
    "Is clear as day to me!"

    He thought he saw a Argument
    That proved he was the Pope:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Bar of Mottled Soap.
    "A fact so dread," he faintly said,
    "Extinguishes all hope!"

  • In 1993 I was stranded on the interstate after a blizzard in Atlanta (a rare case indeed) with thousands of Catholic pilgrims. These people had come from Canada and northern states mostly and were headed back home when the Blizzard hit. It seems that the Virgin Mary had appeared in a bush in Conyers, GA with very unfortunate timing for her devotees. And every one of these people felt the need to tell me about their divine experience and how radiant the holy mother looked in said bush appearance. Many of the
  • I tried to RTFA but the link wasn't really there.
  • However, they are still looking for an explanation of the fact that people closest to GWB are the most affected. Normal vision often appears to be restored soon after they are removed from his office.
  • I think it was William James, appx. 100 years ago, who said "If you believe something to be true, it will be true in its consequences." If you believe you see something, you will see it. It won't be there in reality, but you'll see it.
  • Idealism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bug1 (96678) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:47AM (#22502116)
    There is a branch of philosophy called idealism which is pretty out there, it seems a bit crazy at first, but it deserves more respect than one gets from an initial glance.

    All our experiences come from our senses, our eyes/ears/nose/skin/tongue send electrical impulses to our brain, the mind interpreters these groups of sensory experiences and we call it reality.

    Idealism says (as best i can describe) that "reality" is the mind's interpretation of these sensory experiences, what causes our senses to send a particular sensory experience to the brain isnt directly knowable, therefore not as relevant as the experience itself.

    It is the sensory experience itself that defines reality, i.e. reality is the effect not the cause.

    The Wikipedia page doesnt do the topic justice.
  • AKA... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by McDutchie (151611) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:11AM (#22502432) Homepage

    Scientists at University College London have found the link between what we expect to see, and what our brain tells us we actually saw revealing that the context surrounding what we see is all important -- sometimes overriding the evidence gathered by our eyes and even causing us to imagine things which aren't really there. A vague background context is more influential and helps us to fill in more blanks than a bright, well-defined context.

    I think this phenomenon is often referred to as religion.

  • Perhaps.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by SpacePunk (17960) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:34AM (#22502828) Homepage
    the scientists are seeing the results they want to see, and not what the results actually are. That would both invalidate, and validate their claims.
  • Something like this happened to me. Reading an article about how Trader Vic was about to donate a sculpture of Smiledon to UC Berkeley, before I got to the part where it was to be displayed, my brain decided it was going to be placed outside of the Life Sciences building, so my conscious mind read 'life sciences building'. However, when I turned to my roommate to tell him about this, my mouth said it was going to the 'Earth Sciences' building! This caught me by surprise, so I went back to the article and
  • Discworld [wikipedia.org]'s Death [wikipedia.org] (also called Bob) always new it ... that's why only cats, children & wizards could see him but not the common folks.
  • "Reality is self-induced hallucination." oh10101
    Reality is hallucination, and all dogmatic interpretations are self-induced ID/Id facts.
    Well, it still summarizes the same, I guess.

    Also, if everyone is crazy, then sanity is a collective/communal self-induced ID/Id fact.
    Mass/Community hysteria could be the flawed-reasoning for considering GWBush, Hitler, Caesar, Napoleon ... sane/leaders.

    IOW: Everyone was fucking nuts at the time. If I were a good Christian, then I would
    forgive the murdering bastards for not
  • by neurocutie (677249) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @01:17PM (#22504340)
    "Professor Zhaoping" is Li Zhaoping, and being Chinese, her family name (last name) is Li, NOT Zhaoping (her given, first name). Silly editors, etc. its like going around and calling her Professor Bob or Professor Susie...
  • Once a dog gets friendly playing a game of fetch with you, sometimes they don't let go of the ball to try and mess with you. That is when you start playing mind games with the dog. Often dogs will start running as soon as they see your arm swing. So just hold onto the ball, and they'll go running then get confused that they can't find the ball. Show them the ball, and they'll figure it out. Do it enough times so they don't go running when you swing you arm. Next, throw the ball regularly. If the dog b
  • When I was young, probably ~10, I was in bed and looked at a shoe on the floor, but for some reason I didn't see it as a shoe and for a few long seconds I could not tell what is was at all. Then all the sudden it "came into focus", so to speak, as a shoe and it was obviously a shoe, plain as day. I came to the conclusion that if something is viewed "out of context" (even though my shoe really wasn't) it can have a great impact on how you see or recognize it. Guess I should have published that finding 30 yea
    • I once saw a drawing of dolphins placed in a way they outline the shape of two people having sex. The mail was explaining that the time you take need to go from the obvious dolphins to the more subtle intercourse representation tells how naughty your mind is.
      It took me over a minute to see the dolphins, even with the help of a coworker who eventually had to mask most of the image with his hands to break up the other shape. As they say, things you can't have own you.
  • This phenomenon was explained years ago as an SEP field [wikipedia.org]. It was described as the cheaper and more practical alternative to an invisibility field. I'm surprised that nobody else has mentioned it.

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      Oddly enough I did mention SEP fields in my Frist Post (TM) - but then I painted it pink... and no one else could see it.

  • ... the transient appearance of Vista SP1.
  • I went to a local meeting of the AES (Audio Engineering Society) last week. The talk was about how we perceive stereo sound. The final demonstration was a mystery box with two "circuits" in it. When he switched a circuit in, there would be a 1/2 second delay, and then we would hear it. So we could know what circuit it was it would light either a red or a blue led would light. The then proceeded to play a series of samples 3 times each, one for each circuit and one plain. He used the circuits and plain

    • by lawpoop (604919)
      A quick interpretation might be that people listening are simply 'making up' any difference they hear between the 'circuits'.

      However, I wonder if everyone is having a synaesthetic experience of the circuits -- that when you see the red light, you experience the sound as 'warmer', and when you see the blue light, you experience the the sound as colder and more distant. What do you think?
  • When we see things they are not labeled for us, nor is anything described. Our eyes stream video to our brain, and our ears stream audio, and so on. It is at our core that we process the messages that come in, use associations and memory to decypher what we see. Everything is open to interpretation based on what we know already.

    Fortunately for us, reallity is very consistent. However, time to time, when reallity does something unexpected, the first thing that happens is we try to approximate it with somethi
  • by nemo (2417)
    so in other words, there is now science behind the Somebody Else's Problem Field :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somebody_Else's_Problem_field [wikipedia.org]
  • This isn't terribly surprising. In the military you learn the principles of why things are seen. [army.mod.uk] The entire concept is about understanding that perception is very much about expectation. For instance, one thing you're taught is that position has a lot to do with it. If you see a large object on a road, your brain will tend to see it as a vehicle, even if it's not. Similarly, you can open the door of your fridge and not "see" the ketchup on the shelf because you were expecting to find it in the door.
  • When I was in about the tenth grade, I went to the boy's room during lunchtime, where the smokers traditionally congregated. Something was wrong--I couldn't put my finger on it, but standing there at the urinal I was strangely hesitant to relieve myself.

    All of a sudden, I realize there's several girls hanging out with the smokers, all of them staring at me and giggling, and me standing there in front of the urinal doing nothing.

    I didn't see them in there because I wasn't looking for girls in the boy's

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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