Friday, December 7, 2018

How we perceive death

I just returned from the funeral of my friend who suffered an untimely and unfortunate death; he died at the hands of heroin a week ago. I have known this guy for the past 8 months, he was sober and he was helping a lot of people. His death came suddenly, as he tested negative for all substances just 2 days prior to his passing. After I found him overdosed in his room, I have been experiencing a whirlwind of emotions; anger, sadness, just to name a couple. How can this death be considered anything other than tragic? After working in the addiction field for almost a year, I have experienced a lot of death, but this one has really gotten to me. What if this is a blessing in disguise? A teaching point to someone else in this sober house who is thinking, "maybe just one more..."?

With the stigma surrounding addiction still existing, I'm sure there are people who knew him that are thinking, "Well it was a matter of time." Maybe still others who will say, "Well, that's what you get." I knew this guy as one of the nicest, genuine, and most kind people I've ever met. While I'm still searching for answers, I'm choosing to believe that my friend died so that someone else could be saved. A change of perspective has made this pain a little more bearable.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

BWW and Selective Attention

Have you ever gone to Buffalo Wild Wings and tried to watch multiple sports games at once, while trying to eat your buffalo wings, while also trying to engage in conversation with your dinner guests but seem to miss all the important plays, spill food all over yourself, and zone out your friends? This is in part due to Selective Attention. It is very common for us to want to multi-task and complete as many things as possible in one sitting, but it is very unnatural for us to do so. Divided Attention is paying attention to more than one thing at once but this ability is limited which impacts how much we can process. While trying to watch four games at once on all the live screens at BWW, it's inevitable that we're not going to catch everything and going to miss some important plays because our attention is elsewhere. Selective Attention focuses on specific objects and filters out others so that we can actually absorb what we are looking at. So next time you go to Buffalo Wild Wings in hopes of watching all the games playing at once, I challenge you to catch every single play, talk to your dinner guests, and NOT spill food on yourself. It's pretty impossible.

Image result for buffalo wild wings tvs

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Color Blindness


This picture shows the vision of two different people. The article “color blindness awareness” mentions the effects of color blindness. It states that the most common form of color blindness is known as red/green, which means that the person mixes up all colors that have some red or green as the whole color.  An example the article gives is a red/green color blind person will confuse a blue and a purple because they can’t see the red element of the color purple.

Normal Vision
Normal Vision


 My boyfriend and I always go back and forth when it comes to deciding what color something is. There have been situations that I have told him a center object is orange, yet he sees it as a bright red. At first, I thought he would say it just to fool around, but I have noticed that one of us is somewhat color blind. This connects with the lecture we had in class about perceiving color.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Mirror Neurons and Music

Mirror Neurons and Music

Listening to music is an experience taken for granted far too often, it's a unifying, whole experience to put in headphones and venture out to - anywhere else but here. Sometimes it's a mirror, a congruent space in which you're free of participation, a distant, far, far away space, a friend, etc. - it's an empathetic, cathartic, and communal experience.

When we're watching sports and an athlete twists his/her ankle, we wince as if we too had just rolled our ankle and not sitting on our couch eating potato chips. This is because of mirror neurons, specialized neurons which fire when we see someone performing an action. According to a UCLA study, this effect is observed in people with no relevant experience to the witnessed event. All this to say, music employs mirror neurons that lead us to perceive emotions from songs. Which, isn't too surprising, we can attribute emotion to gait, breath, text, and plenty of other non-tonal dependent behaviors. Another interesting interpretation of the UCLA study is that, dancing is just an expression of those mirror neurons firing "empathizing" with the rhythm. Relative to the rubber hand example, perhaps mirror neurons play a part in simulating the experience and transferring it to an individual's body.

This audio clip sounds as if you are in a barber shop getting a haircut. It sounds very convincing if listened to with your eye closed. Because of binaural hearing, we are able to gauge the directions of sounds in an environment. Binaural hearing works due to the location of our ears. Since they are on opposite sides of the head, sounds will vary in timing, volume, frequency, and balance. For example, if a sound comes from the right, the right ear will receive the sound a few milliseconds before the left ear, allowing us to identify that the sound is coming from the right. The audio clip uses these factors to facilitate the experience of getting a haircut.

Street Art and Optical Illusions

Image result for optical illusions street art

This is an image of street art that is a 3D optical illusion. It looks as if a man is crouching on top of a very tall building looking down on people, smaller buildings, and a bird. As real as it seems, it is actually just a painting on a sidewalk. Some reasons we perceive this image as 3D are occlusion, where one object partially covers others, and relative size, where the size of an item is compared to other items considered. An example of relative size in this painting is the people compared to the bird. We know that people are usually larger than birds, so the fact that the people are smaller than the bird indicates that the people are much further away than the bird. 

Experiencing a virtual reality

My cousin bought a Samsung Odyssey VR headset over the weekend and I got to hang out and play with it. At first I played a a rhythm game Beatsaber, where I orientated myself in the virtual reality. In reality, I had controllers and in VR I had two lightsabers that I had to slice notes with as they passed through me. The timing wasn't hard to nail, depth perception in a virtual reality didn't seem to differ. After the tutorial was over I spun around and saw just how convincing the virtual reality was. While the scene wasn't necessarily detailed, it was immersive enough to convince me I was actually in this neon visualizer. When I took the headset off there was a bit of disappointment and disbelief. Disappointment in that I wasn't actually in the VR, and disbelief that I wasn't actually in the VR, but staring at the wall in my cousin's computer room.

Later, I tried a bunch of different games, but one that stood out was The Lab, as a premise, it's hard to explain, but in it are mini-games. One of the mini-games is just a basic walk around and identify things task. This mini-game was based on another game, Portal, and I had to repair a robot. In doing so, I had to open it up and read a number on one of the parts. The detail wasn't quite there for me to make out the fine print under the numbers, but I found myself squinting trying to read the print.

As a small side note, the movement in VR is sort of nauseating. As we've mentioned multiple times in class, vision overpowers other senses, so when "I" am moving and my legs are not, I got pretty nauseous, pretty fast. To alleviate this, a lot of games have a leap frog mechanic where you point and click to where you want to be within boundaries as opposed to fluid movement.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Ponzo Illusion

When things are further in the distance, they visually seem closer together. Take this train track, it seems as though the lines are closer together, but visually we assume that the tracks are just traveling further away while likely still staying parallel.

Now looking at the yellow lines in the left image, which one looks longer? Personally I had felt that the top line was much longer. However, this is just what the illusion perceives it to be. Looking at the image on the right, the red lines show that the lines are the exact same length. Our vision perceives the top yellow line to be longer due to the recession of the train tracks, creating the Ponzo illusion.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Ear Tubes for Ear Infections:  Background and Basis
Ear infections happen when bacteria and viruses occur in the middle ear. Children tend to get more ear infections due to still developing, rather than adults. When the Eustachian tubes swell or fill with mucus, perhaps during a cold, it can lead to an even worse infection.
Signs of an ear infection include some of the following: 
-Fluid coming from the ear
-Hard time sleeping
-More fussiness
Ear Tubes for Ear Infections: What to Expect
A doctor will have to do a brief surgery to put them in. They may also put antibiotic ear drops in during or after the surgery. Once they are in place, the patient will have relief from some of the more serious symptoms ear infections may have. The surgery itself takes about 15 minutes and has three steps. The doctor will make a small opening in the eardrum, drain the fluid, and place the tube in the opening.

Spinning Dancer Illusion

The spinning dancer illusion

For my last post, I will share this illusion which was very popular when I was a freshman in high school. When this image is seen the viewer will see the dancer spinning either clockwise or counterclockwise. That same viewer could look back at the image and see her spinning in the opposite direction. In fact, as I type this post with the image in my peripheral, she keeps changing directions!

The reason that her direction is so varying is because the image has no depth cues. This is called a reverse, or ambiguous image. This image specifically was created by Nobuyuki Kayahara. Apparently, once you are able to see her change directions, you are more likely to see it happen again.


3D Printing Brings Escher's Impossible Buildings to Life

M.C. Escher was a mathematically inspired artist who created lithographs, woodcuts and sketches of impossible-looking buildings. His images challenge the mind as he plays with the idea of reality and relative space.
In August, 2010, a computer scientist named Gershon Elber created software that allowed him and his team to design real objects that look like an illusion when seen at the right angle. He then used a 3D printer to create a real life version of Escher's Belvedere. It took 27 hours to print and is absolutely fascinating to see.


Vision of Jesus

Optical Illusion

To see this illusion, stare at the dots in the center of the photo for 30-60 seconds without looking away. When the time is up, close your eyes and look away. When you open them, an image of Jesus will appear!

This illusion is an example of an afterimage, where the colors reverse when the viewer looks away. Thus creating the illusion of Jesus from a seemingly indistinct image. This relates to the opponent-process theory of color vision, wherein the black/white color mechanism respond to the stimuli in an opposing fashion. This is believed to be caused by chemical reactions in the retina.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Five  Ways to Change Emotional Habits 

It is scientifically proven that the adult brain can rewire itself when responding to a stimuli. The most two widely accepted and used ways of physically rewiring the brain includes mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavior therapy. Below are the five ways to change emotional habits: 

1. Understand your brain's neuroplasticity. Neuorplasticity consists of how the brain responds to experience. For example, certain brain games use neuroplasticity to improve memory and spatial ability. 
2. Experience-dependent plasticity: This means that if neurons continue to fire at the same time, eventually they'll develop a physical connection.
3. Avoid stress and the habits it tends to bring. Although easier said than done, take time to think before reacting. 
4. Do specific brain-training tasks. There are plenty of free apps on apple products that consist of mindful exercises and ways to improve your emotional well-being. One I particularly like and mentioned before is Youper. Another one can also be "Pacifica." 
5. Practice breathing exercises and meditation. 

Seeing, Smelling, or Tasting

For my last post I wanted to talk about tasting because just like everybody I love eating.  However, the more I read the more I realize that tasting is not just the flavor of the food itself, but also the sight of the food and the smell of it.  The sight of food has for a long time told us what was good and what was not.  Fruits and vegetables are always closely inspected for any dark colors or bruises because they are considered bad once these things start to happen to them.  In the article linked below, I read of an experiment that wine experts described a food colored white wine with red characteristics because of the fact that it was red alone with no regard to the actual flavor of the wine.  Smell also influences taste.  Have you ever heard the saying, "Hold your nose, you won't taste it." Well this is kind of true.  You will be able to detect flavors, bitter or sweet, but you won't be able to describe the taste saying, "that tasted like a strawberry." This relates to the cells at the end of the nasal passage, which then relay information to the brain through olfactory referral.  Little did I know when I thought I was just tasting foods I was seeing them and smelling them as well and my brain put all these sensations together to form the "taste" of the food.



For my second post I would like to talk about our perception of live music.  With tickets to see my favorite group live in a few days I felt like it was very suiting.  When thinking about sound, and music specifically we have to think about all the attributes that affect it including pitch, duration, and loudness.  Harmonic relation is an important factor of live music meaning that instruments and voices would sound similar.  When two harmonic complex tones sound at the same time, with the same harmonic frequencies they are often perceived as a single complex tone (Deutsch 2007).  Certain artists aim for sounds to stand out from the music, making it a different harmonic frequency, while others want the sounds to blend together.  Artists can also use alternating tones with one repeated, even though it is broken up by other bursts it will often be perceived as one long tone (Deutsch 2007).  This also allows for more fluctuation within the music and a more pleasant listening experience.



I have always wondered why we see pictures the way that we do and why is the life behind a lens so fascinating? As defined by Casper J. Erkrelens, "A picture is a powerful medium for inducing the illusion that one perceives a three-dimensional space." It is first important to discuss how we see an image.  Reflection of light is the short answer.  The reflection of light enters the eye through the pupil, which is the focused by the cornea and the lens.  This then hits the retina where the visual receptors, rods and cones, are. This then travels to the brain for processing.  What is so interesting about a photograph is that how familiar we are with a setting determines our perception of an image.  Shape and relative size are cues for distance from the photographer to the object.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Babies and Sounds

It is very important for a baby to be in safe places with safe sounds. Often times you see parents holding the ears and head of a baby when something loud happens. Babies have a different restriction for the decibels that they can hear and tolerate. This is because of their soft skull and developing inner ears. These precautions should be take while the baby is still in the womb as well. I was reading an article compared baby/infant toys and how the sounds differ and how they compare to sounds that adults hear. Baby toys are often made with sound, but are supposed to be heard from far away. The restriction for babies is about 80 decibels. When the toy is placed a few feet away this limit is reached. As the toy gets closer to the baby- which often happens as the infant grows and wants to hold and teeth on these toys. At close range-in arms reach these toys can reach up to 120 decibels which is potentially harmful to the development of the inner ear to the baby. 120 decibels for an adult was compared to having a chainsaw right next to you- seems uncomfortable and not desired. Babies are typically near sighted as their eyes are still developing so people hold toys close to their face so that they can see them. If these toys have sounds and are held so close to their face than this can cause damage to the ears. So why are these baby toys made so loud if they can potentially harm the baby?

Elements of thought:
Point of View: babies don't have their own comprehensible point of view so its important for parents and families to understand these limits and protect these babies. Put themselves in the babies shoes and compare the decibels to the harmful ones for an adult.
Question at Issue: Why are baby toys made so loud if they can potentially harm the development of the baby's inner ear?

Link to article:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Julia Child

      Julia Child was quite an influential figure during the 1940's and 50's. She began learning to cook professional French cuisine later in her life and one day was offered a deal on helping write a cookbook titled Mastering the Art of French Cooking which became a success. To relate this to class, Julia was an American who pursued French cooking, a different taste and method then what she had been used to. Although we have not reached this portion of lecture, I believe this is someone who would be interesting to read about when the time comes for her influence on the cuisine of the American home during her time. She had done a cooking show unlike those we see today involving live broadcasting. She was the opposite of the typical food network cooks who have several tries for one take and can later edit their mistakes. Julia misspoke, dropped things and preached that in order to cook we must fail. She truly depicted what it was like in the kitchen through success and mistake. 

Image result for julia child


For my final post I wanted to discuss what tinnitus is. I decided to talk about this because I'm in the sound group for our final project. This condition usually occurs after a concert experience. After being exposed to the loud music for hours, you experience muffled ringing after its called tinnitus. This ringing being heard following a concert happens when loud noise damages the very fine hair cells that line your ear. Loud exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss and concerts tend to be around 115 decibels or more depending on the spot you're in. The louder the sound is, the shorter amount of time it takes to lose hearing. The ringing following a concert is constant and sounds like buzzing or roaring, but tinnitus usually resolves a few hours or days after being exposed to loud music. It's important to watch out where you're standing at concerts or any place with live bands. Standing close to a speaker can damage your hearing indefinitely if it's loud enough.


The Dress

Is this dress blue and black or white and gold?

For my second post I wanted to talk about the dress! This dress is very well known over the internet because people see different colors. Its either Black and Blue or White and Gold. When I look at the dress I see White and Gold, but its actually Black and Blue. The way you see things is how your brain processes color. Light bounces off objects in the world and then reaches your eye in wavelengths which signals your brain to interpret color. Pascal Wallisch explained, "this mix depends on two things: the color of the object and the color of the light source. To achieve what color vision scientists call 'color constancy,' the brain calculates color-corrections for an image on the fly. It takes note of the illuminating light and tries to figure out how it might be affecting the color of an object." The dress was taken in different lighting with bluish tint, your brain sees it as white and gold or black and blue.


Beep Baseball

For my first post I wanted to talk about Beep Baseball. This sport is specifically for the blind and was created my Minnesotans who lack sight but want to participate in one of America's favorite sports. They use a softball during the game and players can hit a homerun without ever seeing the ball. The sound of the ball positions the players to finally make contact using the bat then to run to the base. It's been said by research that suggest that blind individuals tend to contain sounds better than sighted people. Here's a video to show how this game works:


Monday, November 26, 2018

Christmas Lights

For my final site post, I decided to talk about the Christmas season. As Christmas gets closer people are starting to put up their Christmas lights. I love going to see all the houses that put up lights that dance with the music. It looks so trippy and constantly has my eyes moving all over the place. Bright lights always appear to be moving due to Gestalt’s law. The Gestalt law says that that our minds fill in missing pieces and information that is not always there. The law states that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts which led to the discovery of several different phenomena that occur during perception.