Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Helps women unlock their creative genius so they can live purposeful, joyful lives. Artists and creatives have long been admired for their ability to think outside the box, as much as their gifts have been lauded as somehow outlying and mysterious.
April 12, An extensive literature reveals that expectation determines perceptions, but it is not clear how. Previous posts have documented many findings that support this notion and a summary is listed below.
But, how does the brain use mental concepts to modulate and determine what we think we see? While, it is not yet clear exactly how this occurs, there is increasing research that helps.
One important fact is that the brain works in some ways like television transmission, in that it processes stable backgrounds without much attention and moving parts more intensely and differently. Expectations come from the context of the scene, previous experiences and mostly what has happened recently and repetitively.
Many brain mechanisms evaluate which of a variety of probable events are actually occurring. But, how does expectation affect perception in the visual system?
Unexpected events have a particularly important role to play and have their own elaborate pathways. The unexpected and the successful expectation pathways interact and can suppress each other.
Sometimes errors of expectation occur and sometimes, a completely new event occurs that has to be analyzed, synthesized and compared to our repertoire of past experiences. Recent research in babies shows that they respond most to unexpected events and use these to evaluate the environment and learn.
In fact they will perform experiments with objects to learn about their properties. The unexpected is critical in the adult brain as well.
All types of sensory signals barrage the brain simultaneously. The human brain is specially geared for visual signals using half of the volume for its analysis. It is well known that there are far more neuronal signals coming down top-down from the higher cortex than incoming bottom-up from sensory signals.
These top-down signals modulate and massage the incoming signals, ultimately determining what is gleaned from the sensory information.
Two different brain processes are making predictions and taking in information over time to make a decision. It is not a simple linear progression of information being analyzed.
Rather it is a complex series of loops and feedback that involve a large amount of top-down signals—expectations and possibilities—meeting and modulating bottom-up sensory information with back and forth communication.
When there are competing expectations, a longer process is triggered, with specific neuronal activity. When looking at a stable scene, brain activity occurs in multiple regions related to different possibilities and probabilities. As the decision making process continues, other parts of the brain become involved.
Attention adds meaning salience to the expectation that is being considered to form the perception. Expectation and Perception Perceptions are quite different for various individuals.
Some of this variance is due to individual sensory differences, described in the previous post What is the Color of the Dress ; but, also, because expectation determines perceptions. Color is manipulated by the brain. Animals need to know whether a particular food is dangerous or not is it a tomato or not and, therefore, the brain constantly adjusts color balance, just like the program Photoshop.
Another filter of the sensory information occurs before the data reaches the cortex. This emotional filter responds very rapidly to perceived threats, such as someone about to throw a punch. The flinch occurs so rapidly there is no time for cortex analysis.
These circuits are sent very rapidly to the much closer emotional centers for a rapid reflex. But, the over arching analysis of visual signals depends on what is expected. A famous experiment has been described where people are told to concentrate on the activity of a group of people on a stage, such as passing a basketball.
Then, a man in a gorilla suit walks across the stage. Top-Down Influence of the Cortex on Perception Recent research shows that there are a large number of neurons that come down from the cortex analyzing, synthesizing and altering the incoming sensory signals.
The top down neurons from the cortex far outnumber the incoming sensory neurons. Therefore, the influence of the brain and expectation are far greater than the raw data.
There are many rarely noticed examples in daily life of top down effects on perceptions: Picture of bright light causes eye pupils to react, as if a real light. Thinking of good deeds makes the room brighter.
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So-called 'Angry Little Man Syndrome' is where male privilege meets male disadvantage. But being short doesn't always lead to anger.
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Pardon me if I am out of place, but, going to the doctor frequently for headaches and believing that you have a terminal illness due to a set of symptoms that are hardly a sign of a common cold, if anything at all, is an entirely different mental illness than depression.