Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On Being Wrong: Our Senses

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups


"Of the very long list of reasons we can get things wrong, the most elementary of them all is our senses fail us" (53) --Kathryn Schulz

In the chapter 3, "Our Senses," in her book Being Wrong, Kathryn Schulz discusses illusions and especially "the processes that give rise to them--processes that would be far harder to study (or even know about) if they didn't occasionally produce surprising erroneous results." Scientists who study illusions "aren't learning how our visual system fails. They are learning how it works" (61).

Later, Schulz explains that "illusions teach us how to think about error" (65). And she also mentions the curiosity and pleasure that emerge as a result of illusions we encounter. 

What did you think? Based on Schulz's discussion, what processes or effects of illusion that she covered were most compelling to you and why?

 

13 comments:

Jacqueline C. said...

The most compelling idea to me was when Schulz described how our senses can deceive us in normal situations. I find this true because we each perceive the world differently and just because someone doesn't have the same view, does not make them wrong or us right and vise versa.When we can acknowledge when we are at fault, we will grow as individuals and exude greatness.

Kayleigh E. said...

I think that as a society the idea of magic/illusions intrigues us. For example if we see a magician doing tricks the first thing we think is "how is he doing that?" We know that magic isn't real, yet we are completely puzzled, and even though we are stumped we keep coming back for more.

Ashley Bass said...

The most compelling idea that Schulz discussed about illusion to me was when she said "knowing how it works does not prevent it from working". I loved this statement because it is so true. I know I have looked at many illusions and people tell me what the object is really supposed to look like, but I still see it differently than it really is even though I know what it's supposed to be. It never fails that everytime I look at an illusion that I have already seen, it still tricks me into thinking I'm seeing something else

Jenee' B. said...

Inattentional blindness was the most interesting to me because of the way it works and how easily obvious things can be missed. Most times it is helpful to us by helping us stay focused, but sometimes it can be harmful and put us in danger. The existence of inattentional blindness adds to the fact that we can't simply rely on our senses to tell us about everything in the world, because our own senses can be the very thing blinding us from even the most obvious of truths.

Maya Estell said...

As a society e spend a lot of time dreaming. Some can say that these"dreams" can be associated with illusions, a sense of false reality. Shultz does a great job of depicting how illusion can bring our society pleasure in some ways. I thought that was compelling, because I can see that and relate to it in every day life.
Maya Estell

Maame A said...

What I found most interesting when reading chapter 3 in the reading was the link between seeing and knowing and how we equate seeing with being knowledgeable. For example, in many poems, songs, etc. the lyrics my include, "I was blind, but know I see" making the link between the two (seeing and being knowledgeable) metaphorical. We base fact on information that we have observed, but sometimes these things can be deceiving such as not bringing an umbrella when it looks bright and sunny outside, although it may rain.

Ashya Ford said...

One thing I found interesting was the concept that we are more willing to believe something that is tangible to our senses, or as she says there is a "link" between we see and what we accept as real. This stands out to me because it makes me think about how things are viewed; and even though everyone in the world sees things differently, as long as we can all "see" them, we believe they are there.
Ashya F.

Najah Hopkins said...

The most compelling aspect of chapter 3 was Immauel Kant.The German philosopher who studied perception. Kant believed that we lived in two worlds of reality. The first being Phenomenon which is described as rational thought, reality or objectivity. The second is Neoumena which is unconscious thought or the human spirit. In reference to individual error, although we can not physically see the spiritual world we can still imagine it. Kant believed that we lived in both the physical world and the spiritual world and that our belief/imagination of the spiritual existence is possible through objectivity ,truth and agreement O'Brien, 2011).

Jessica H. said...

The idea that I found the most interesting was the idea that there is a link between what we see and what we believe is real. I agree with this because if someone explains something to me, I may not believe it. But if they have something tangible that I can see then I am more likely to believe it. People can believe or better accept something when they have facts/evidence.

Kiara gay said...

I agree with the idea that people enjoy seeking pleasure from what we see as being real but what we know to be false. For example, optical illusions make you believe that the objects you are looking at are really moving but on reality we know that it is impossible for the lines on a piece of paper to be moving. Although we may have other beliefs about something, if it can be seen as real it can be believed to be real.

Aliya Foster said...

What I found most compelling was the idea that even though we can know that the trick that is being presented to us is just an illusion, we are still amazed by it. I have been pulled into this philosophy many times. I find myself looking at optical illusions on the internet and find them intriguing even though I've seen it numerous times before.

Jasmine said...

The idea I found most interesting was how she pointed out that we as people believe what we see with our own eyes. This is so true. So many people use the saying "I'll believe it when I see it. It just makes sense to think that our own eyes won't deceive us.

Hilary Conrad said...

The part of the chapter I found most interesting was the concept of our perceptions and optical illusions. I have always been truly amazed by how our brains work and enjoy looking at different optical illusions. They remind me that things aren't always as they appear. It is also a reminder to look at everything in life on a deeper level.