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Notes Psychology

Rule 10: Vision Trumps all Other Senses (Brain Rules)

When you read, you perceive parts of the text that aren’t there. You are hallucinating.

Each of your eyes has a blind spot. If your vision was 100 percent accurate, you would see two black holes that would never go away, but your brain tricks you. The brain doesn’t take in the signals that come to it from the eyes as they are, but does some guesswork when necessary. It may be that the brain is simply ignoring the lack of information, but either way, you are not getting an accurate picture of the world.

It isn’t only that you see things that aren’t there, you construct information according to a set of rules. Your past experience determines what your brain allows you to see.

We don’t see words when we read. We see art pieces. Reading creates a bottleneck for information flow – not because words are not like pictures, but because they are too much like pictures. Even with years of practice with words, the brain doesn’t get much better at processing them.

This is not surprising since our evolutionary history involved no reading. We saw trees and animals, we didn’t spend much time on Microsoft Word.

When we read, most of us try to visualize what the text is telling us.

“Words are only postage stamps  delivering  the  object  for  you  to  unwrap,” 

George Bernard Shaw

Pictures are great at transferring information. We pay attention to color, orientation and size. Computer animations should be used by teachers since we are wired to notice movement.

In 1982, more pictures and less text would have been frightening.

USA Today was made fun of, with its use of more pictures and less text. Some thought the style would not work, and others thought that if it did, it would mark the end of Western civilization. USA Today had the second highest readership of any newspaper in the country within 4 years. Within 10 years, it became number 1.

What happened?

First, pictures are more effective than text at delivering information. Two, an overworked American workforce. Three, many Americans still read newspapers.

The 33 Strategies of War (Joost Elffers Books)Rule 10: Vision Trumps all Other Senses (Brain Rules) 1

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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