Believing is Not Seeing: Visual Science and Reality part 2

Let’s get this straight from the off. You don’t see nearly as much as you think you do. In fact you barely see anything. You may think this is an exaggeration but I’m being serious. And I’ll explain why.

Before we start you should read the first post in this series.

Firstly you don’t see smooth motions in the world around you. The neurons in your eyes can’t work that fast Read the full post »

Believing is Not Seeing: Visual Science and Reality part 1

I’ve had to break this post down into two posts as it got a bit long.

So before I start on this bit I want everyone reading to take part in a very small experiment:

Put a hand over your left eye so you can’t see anything with it. Now lean back from the computer screen and stare at the cross on the left in the image below.

As you stare at the cross, move closer to the image (you can get pretty close).

Read the full post »

Versatile Blogger Award

I’m tempted to copy and paste EvoAnth‘s post (or just reblog it) to make my life easier, but no I might as well do this properly!

I’ve never been completely sure how much worth these awards seem to hold, although I have seen a couple floating around in the blogosphere. Chain blogging isn’t the most attractive of things to do… and I’m sure it doesn’t take a huge amount of work to win one, but people have put effort into sharing, and it’s nice to be recognised by a fellow blogger, so I might as well do the same.

So these are the guidelines:

• Nominate 15 other bloggers
• Inform your nominees
• Share 7 random facts about myself
• Thank the one who nominated you
• Add a picture of the award to this post

Let’s see how well I stick to them. I don’t know if I’m allowed to nominate people that the person who nominated me nominated (lots of nominates…). But I happen to agree with a few of his choices so I might add them if I run out of ideas!

I’ll just quickly add the photo:

Next I would like to thank EvoAnth who, like me, is also a versatile blogger. The recognition is greatly appreciated. And I am also thankful for the posting of my blog URL twice on his award post. If you didn’t mean to do it, you can keep it up there. I don’t mind :).

OK my nominees are:

Two bloggers who have interesting philosophies on how the world works, or should work. Well worth a read:

A couple of science bloggers who give an amusing, but accurate, outlook into the life of a scientist:
Some more science based blogs:

Science and Religion:

And I’m going to steal two from my nominators nominees:

  • Eye on the ICR – Creationist angst, which many will sympathise with, many will disagree with
  • Simian rivalry – two bloggers who hold completely different perspectives over science and religion battling it out over wordpress.

There! 15 blogs nominated. Sorry if some of it comes out in a weirdly small font, WordPress is acting up a bit today for me.

Now the 7 random facts:

  1. I play the piano.
  2. I was in Turkey when this earthquake hit.
  3. I have a slight fascination with all things developmental (especially neuro and psycho).
  4. I have eaten coco pops all my life and still have it almost every day.
  5. I am a lifetime member of the Beano (despite my parents begging me not to make such a commitment as a child).
  6. I’ve been reading a series of Sci-Fi fantasy books by Robert Jordan (the wheel of time) since I was 13. It’s over 10,000 pages long and the guy died before finishing it. so 8 years later I’m still waiting for the final book to come out…
  7. Final random point, and probably the most awesome/scary/crazy thing in my opinion: I’m going to have a son in a few months!

Complicatedly Colourful: Vision Science

The picture I’ve put up is one of a mouse retina. The green dots are cells that have been stained with a fluorescent dye. I’m showing you this partly to show you how many cells there are in a retina (only some of the cells are stained, and humans have even more than mice). It’s also partly to Read the full post »

Sight: The Science of Vision

Before I start I’m going to give you a couple of references to some relevant posts I have already made/reblogged:

The basics of sensory science

The causes of sensation – very relevant to this post

A reblogged think on colours and some other issues

If anyone still wants to they can vote in the poll on the sidebar!

OK let’s get started. Read the full post »

The Skin is Also a Map

I was originally going to start posting on the actual senses with vision, but this is a far better way to go about it!

I’ve had a couple comments on patterns of activity defining the senses. I’m going to use our sense of touch to point out that it isn’t really the patterns of activity that define a sense, but where that activity comes from, and where it goes to.

He's not a freak! He's a Homunculus...

Read the full post »

A nice post on the limits of our senses. With a few great illustrations!

First half has a nice explanation of the science. The second half concentrates on other issues, but is still an interesting read!

Cedar's Digest

I don’t often write about gender and science, but I have been thinking and reading about it lately. If you were hoping for my typical aloof lecturing, or overblown (yet intellectual) ranting, just wait a few days (or you could revisit what I think of David Brooks and Larry Summers).

At a wonderful dinner out at the recent Science Online Conference, I found myself explaining why I consider myself a psychologist, even though some people don’t consider the study of visual perception “psychological.” This comes up often in response to the question: “Are you going to use your psychology knowledge to analyze me?” “I’m not that kind of psychologist,” I say. Then, because the food hadn’t come yet, and I had drunk a beer on an empty stomach, I waxed poetic about the color purple. I launched into an explanation of how we perceive color, and how an…

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The Importance Of Change

How would you define time?

Google defines it as Read the full post »

What’s Your Favourite Sense?

I’ve added a new poll in the sidebar so people can vote for their favourite sense.

I thought it might be interesting to see which ones people can’t live without. (bear in mind all those who live without some of these senses already)

The Key to the Senses: Transduction

Here’s probably the most basic question in all of sensory neuroscience (the study of the senses). How does a ray of light enter our nervous system, to eventually become something that we see? How in fact does anything external (anything we touch, smell, taste, hear or see) get turned into something internal (some kind of signal in the brain that tells us to sense something).

The answer is simple, so simple in fact that it is one word: Read the full post »