What are the limits of human vision?

“Wondrous as it is, our sense of vision is clearly not without certain limitations. We can no more see radio waves emanating from our electronic devices than we can spot the wee bacteria right under our noses. But with advances in physics and biology, we can test the fundamental limits of natural vision. “Everything you can discern has a threshold, a lowest level above which you can and below which you can’t,” says Michael Landy, professor of psychology and neural science at New York University. ”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150727-what-are-the-limits-of-human-vision

The Women with Superhuman Vision

“A tiny group of people can see ‘invisible’ colours that no-one else can perceive, discovers David Robson. How do they do it?”

“Today, she knows that this is a symptom of a condition known as “tetrachromacy”. Thanks to a variation in a gene that influences the development of their retinas, people like Antico can see colours invisible to most of us. Consider a pebble pathway. What appears dull grey to you or me shines like a jeweller’s display to Antico. “The little stones jump out at me with oranges, yellows, greens, blues and pinks,” she says. “I’m kind of shocked when I realise what other people aren’t seeing.””

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140905-the-women-with-super-human-vision

How do language and lifestyle affect your perceptions?

Part of an interesting video series, Do You See What I See. The first part of this link shows an African tribe, the Himba, whose language and environment differ so much from ours that they are able to distinguish different shades very differently from us. The link below is for the part that shows the Himba tribe. At the bottom of the video player are links for the rest of that show.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xl7eh1_horizon-do-you-see-what-i-see-part-4-4_shortfilms

Here an article about how those same people are able to discern optical illusions better than people who live in modern societies.

The Astonishing Vision of Namibia’s Nomads

“The Himba people of Namibia can see fine details and ignore distraction much better than most other human beings – a finding that may reflect the many ways that modern life is changing our minds and abilities.”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170306-the-astonishing-focus-of-namibias-nomads

TED Talk: Isaac Lidsky: What reality are you creating for yourself?

“Reality isn’t something you perceive; it’s something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.”

Crafty yoghurts: can your tastebuds be tricked? – video

Studies have proven that colour plays a vital role in setting our expectations of taste and flavour in foods. But what happens when colour defies expectation? We put food colouring into vanilla yoghurt and challenged people to guess the flavour. Will they all be duped or might someone see through our ruse?

 

Police Body Cameras: What Do You See?

Interesting set of videos that shows you the limitations of what we can learn from body cameras on police officers. It also raises issues around how our prior knowledge, expectations, and experiences affect what we see when we interpret a given situation.

“This confirms what Professor Stoughton has found in his own presentations with judges, lawyers and students: What we see in police video footage tends to be shaped by what we already believe.

“‘Our interpretation of video is just as subject to cognitive biases as our interpretation of things we see live,’ Professor Stoughton said. ‘People disagree about policing and will continue to disagree about exactly what a video shows.’

“Race can also play a role. While Professor Stoughton’s work did not seek to determine how the race of the driver affected viewers’ conclusions, numerous studies have shown that some sort of conscious or unconscious bias is present in all of us, including law enforcement.”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/01/us/police-bodycam-video.html

The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

“The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.”

“As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions — sights, sounds, textures, tastes — are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it — or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion — we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like.”

https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/