Sunday, December 15, 2013

Brain Perception of Silhouettes

Some of you know that I enjoy showing brain-perception puzzles at some of my seminars (e.g., facial shapes hidden among the branches of a tree). Some brains see the tree first, others notice the faces first. Some brains see most of the faces; others don’t. The results of a new study by Jay Sanguinetti, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona, challenges currently accepted models, in place for a century, about how the brain processes visual information. He discovered that the brains perceives objects in everyday life that its owner may not be consciously aware of. He showed participants a set of black silhouettes. Some contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the white spaces on the outsides and some did not. Meantime, the brainwaves of the participants were being monitored with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, while they viewed the objects. Surprisingly, participants’ brainwaves showed that even if a person never consciously recognized the shapes on the outside of the image, their brains still processed those shapes to the level of understanding their meaning.

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