Welcome Summer 20' Students! I look forward to reading your posts :)
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Before this class and this book, I have heard of Helen Keller and her amazing accomplishments even though she is both deaf and blind. The fact that she is able to communicate effectively even though she was born with out both senses is truly mind blowing! I have always wondered how she was able to communicate and never truly understood until I read chapter 7 where the author introduces us to Tadoma, which is a method of lip reading by touch. Truly incredible how she has been able to learn and utilize Tadoma in order to communicate with others. This video shows how Helen's heightened sense of touch allows her to feel the vibrations of words of someone who is speaking to her through Tadoma.
Monday, June 24, 2019
While reading, I came across the interesting topic of females having the ability to synchronize their menstrual cycles. This appears to be a touchy subject, but it's natural and it's part of being human, so it shouldn't be anything less than "normal" to talk about, right? Martha McClintock was the first person to bring this idea to peoples attention while attending a seminar that held a room full of all male renown biologists. Unbelievable at first, but she later had proof that created both an important and controversial research area in human pheromones. I can't relate to having synchronized menstrual cycles with other females myself, but McClintock's claim that females who are around each other for long periods of time, encounter changes to their olfactory system, sensing pheromones through menstruation, causing them to unknowingly synchronize their menstrual cycles. I personally can't relate, but I have heard stories from close friends about having synchronized menstrual cycles with both their mothers and sisters, so it could be true. It is still a controversial topic, but I think it's pretty neat and I would love to do more research on it.
As I was watching the Ted Talk video a few weeks ago for this class with the blind man who uses tongue clicks to navigate through the world, I found this video in the related videos column and I just felt like it was something I had to share. The video I attached below is about a man who has Stargardt's Disease. This is an eye condition that causes deterioration of the macula of the eye and causes severe vision loss. I just think it is so amazing and interesting that with new and improved technology, this man can now see his wife, baby and parents once again. It definitely makes you think about what could be possible within the coming years due to technological advances in medicine.
After reading a section of the book on this topic, I decided to look more into people choosing their significant others solely based on smell. It kinda sounds crazy when you first think about it but after watching this video (that I attached below) it makes a lot of sense. There is real biological reasoning behind using your nose to find a significant other. Certain pheromones and smells that people give off are more attractive to people who are compatible with one another.
After reading about out of body experiences and the rubber hand illusion in the book, I decided to search for a video of the rubber hand illusion on YouTube so I could get a better idea of what this entails. It is so interesting to me that these people, even after a very short period of time, still feel as though this rubber hand has become a part of their body. It is almost as if their brain is playing games with them because they consciously know that this hand is not their's but at the same time, they feel as though it could be their's.
Luckily, I have been born blessed with all of my senses in tact. With that said, it's easy for me to take for granted my ability to see everything and everywhere I am going. Since the day I learned about some people being blind, and unable to use their eyes to navigate through life, I've always wondered how in the world they were able to move through life almost as if nothing is wrong. The chapter involving the intricacies of echo location intrigued me very much so. Being a sighted individual, I can't even imagine having such heightened hearing to be able to pinpoint objects and obstruction through rebounding sound waves. To think people are even able to mountain bike solely on their ability to echo locate is truly incredible! Whenever I visualize people echo locating, I can't help but think of the movie Daredevil starring Ben Affleck as a blind vigilante who uses echo location to beat down on bad guys. If you haven't seen it, enjoy this clip! Apologies, this video was unable to be attached directly to my post!
I already posted three times, but came across a video of the McGurk effect that is mentioned in the book and really wanted to share it. The McGurk effect refers to when what you see by reading lips while simultaneously listening to a similar sound overrides the auditory sound. I have watched the video that I linked multiple times and when watching the video at the with my eyes closed, I hear ba the whole time, but when I look at him, his mouth movement influences what I am hearing. In the comments below the video, I read that many people still hear ba, even when his mouth is wording something else. I am curious if anyone else hears ba the whole time.
Sunday, June 23, 2019
Anyone can agree that facial expressions are universally understood. Rosenblum (2010) wrote "Research suggests that by the time you're in your seventies, strangers will be able to perceive something about your emotional life simply by looking at photographs of your face. By this age, your face will be better at conveying some emotions than others." With this being said, it is a fact that our faces indicate some aspects of our personality, even if they are miniscule characteristics. As mentioned in the book, the more you physically express an emotion, the more people will be able to identify you in that specific state of emotion. For example, if you're somebody who is generally happy, then your facial muscles are used to smiling and you will exhibit this even subconsciously. If you're somebody who is often sad then people will generally identify you as someone who is emotionally distraught. Essentially, our personality characteristics are most often translated to our faces.
The concept of brain plasticity (also known as neuroplasticity) is one that is relatively new and quite complex. Essentially, our brains are constantly changing to adapt to new information that is being acquired in our brains. Our sense of touch is the most connected sense of perception that affects plasticity because "Intensive practice with touch can change the organization of your brain's touch areas. For example, not only do the visual brain areas change in the blind, but the brain's touch areas (somatosensory cortex) also change..." (Rosenblum, p. 137). Because of the many touch receptors that our body has, our brains experience these changing sensations every moment of every day, and they contribute to the shaping and cognitive processes of our brains.
While there are many factors that influence our sense of taste, one of the much talked about topics is how our vision influences our sense of taste. This article demonstrates the topic more in detail, but essentially it is not uncommon for our taste buds to be very influenced by what we are visually perceiving. The primary reasoning behind this phenomenon is the fact that our brains receive visual information before anything else, even before smells. If we see a food that is in the color orange, we associate that piece of food tasting like an orange or something of the citrus family. Another example is if we see a piece of candy in the color red, chances are that candy is either cherry or berry flavored. We would be thrown off if it tasted something completely different like chocolate.
The book happened to mention one of my favorite neurological phenomenons, synesthesia. Having crossed sensations, linked sensations is awesome to me. I read a book called the tell-tale-brain once and it went over in detail how complex this is. I found this fascinating because I went to high-school with a girl who had it. She is an amazing pianist and hearing her play was an experience. She told me that when she struck the keys on the piano she saw colors with each note. She was able to know when she made a mistake when she saw the wrong color. This sounded unreal to me back then, but after reading and learning about it in college, it doesn't seem as far fetch as it once did. In fact, I now understand how she would find music so easy to learn. I could not imagine having that ability. I am happy that the last chapter touched on that. I like that the book says we are able to experience one type of synesthesia all the time with smells and such. Some have these connections a lot stronger than others.
In my younger years I visited Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. Near the end of the adventure was a tunnel. I recall this memory due to being tricked by what I was observing. The tunnel was moving in a circular position. The goal was to walk through the tunnel without walking sideways due to the optical illusion. I remember telling myself to stare at the bridge since that was the only object not in motion. This made it easier to cross the bridge to exit the museum. I’ve attached a video below of the optical illusion.
Chapter 10 discusses the effects of lip reading. Below I provide the example from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In this clip he performs the Whisper Challenge. One person is given headphones with music playing where the other person mouths song lyrics. This leaves the person with the headphone on lip read what their partner is saying. In the video, you will notice at certain times they would focus on the lips of the player and were unable to determine the lyrics. The most effective approach happens when the whole face is observed during lip reading. Chapter 10 reiterates the most effective lip reading occurs by viewing the whole face. This is a good experiment to try with friends to test out your lip-reading skills.
I start every morning with a 2-mile run in my neighborhood. Often, my step-father would argue with me about wearing my headphones while running. I thought about how distracting listening to music can be while running especially for safety reasons. From then on forward I decided to run without headphones. I was missing the sounds of nature and more importantly cars that drove past me. In Chapter 2, research suggested all untrained listeners over anticipated the arrival of a car. I started to practice this test on myself. I often found I matched the research conducted on untrained listeners. Frequently, I’d jump onto the sidewalk when cars were a further distance away. I often run on the side of the road with a safety vest. One day while running I was amazed when a Prius drove by on my run. It scared me since I was unable to hear the car approaching. While taking this course, I had a connective moment when reading on the advancement of electric and hybrid vehicles. I related to this instantly due to my current experience.
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Another topic that caught my eye was about taste. For me at least in never really think about that taste includes your hearing, touch, or expectations. Touch I can kind of see because if the texture of something is not pleasant, could make someone not want it. Hearing I never really thought about, but the sounds we hear when we chew influence how pleasant and fresh the food is. Expectations also are a reasonable way to influence how the food taste. This makes me think of myself how there are certain foods I just do not want to try because of the way it looks. Also if I am somewhat willing to try something the texture might be throwing me off and it makes me just not like it at all. Although sometimes there will be those random times where I decide to actually try foods I would always avoid and then find out they are not so bad. I think this goes along with my expectations, but they are wrong sometimes. Where I believe I will not like the food, but I end up liking it. It is amazing how senses you might not think would influence taste, do influence it.
This video I found I thought is really interesting and it goes along the topic of what influences taste, and this talks about color.
Friday, June 21, 2019
I have a thirteen year old dog named Teddy. Over the past year we noticed that he wasn't responding to when we would talk to him or he wouldn't react to sounds that usually would get him up. We realized due to his age and big floppy ears, he could hear very little. We say hes "almost-deaf". Teddy used to be able to hear someone peeling a banana several rooms away, but now it appears that he relies on his sense of smell much more. With his sense of hearing almost gone, the vet said he would probably start to rely on his nose a lot more. This is a little sad for us, but its also super convenient because he no longer hears the door bell or other dogs barking. In the section of the book where the professor tries to imitate a dog and follow scents using his nose made me think of my dog. I wondered if my dog's sense of smell is now heightened now that he can no longer hear well. Luckily he still is happy as can be and people commonly mistake him for a puppy in his energetic attitude and appearance.
After reading the chapters about vision in our text, it brought back a specific game me and friends used to play. In the section that talked about the pitch black restaurant, this made me remember a game that me and my friends called "Hide-and-go-seek in the dark". For this game, we would play in my friend's basement and block off all windows and any source of light. We made it so you couldn't even see the hand in-front of your face. We would the hide and select a seeker to look for us; as you could imagine, this could take up to an hour in a large, fully furnished basement. Now was this the smartest or safest thing for a bunch of middle-school kids to be doing, no; however, after crashing into furniture and walls enough, we learned our surroundings pretty well. The amazing thing about this game that can be related to our class, is that not long after the game would begin, you would find yourself relying on your other senses to compensate. And after hours of playing at a time, you would find your sense of hearing almost heightened to the point of listening to every-single little sound around you. In the video's we watched about being visually impaired, you can see these individuals relying on their other senses more.
Below displays an accurate way to play the game; which, with the right groups can be hysterical
(Picture of me and friends hiding)
I found the section in the text about how taste and smell relate to be very interesting. I found it more so interesting this past week because I had a head cold. My sense of smell has been impaired to the point of not being able to really smell fragrances at all. This came to my attention the other night when I was eating salmon for dinner. If you have ever eaten any kind of fish, you know there is a strong and distinct taste and smell. Upon my first few bites, it tasted very bland, and I could not taste the strong "fish" taste you would normally get. I've obviously noticed this phenomenon before, but it was ironic timing because we just-so-happened to learn about this in our text. I would not advise anyone to get a head-cold to experience this, but next time you do; be aware of how your senses are effected.
The link below better explains the science behind this phenomenon.
The link below better explains the science behind this phenomenon.
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Alright, so I came across a part in the book I found to be very interesting. I was able to find a funny BuzzFeed video on it as well. The book mentioned how a woman named Martha McClintock brought up the subject on female individuals syncing together on their mensural period cycles and how all the men were in disbelief. I myself, who live in a house of only women (me, my mom, and sisters), I can honestly say I believe in this. When I lived home with my family, we all were going through the cycle span at the same time. In high school, when I was on my soccer team, around my teammates daily, we all some how found ourselves to be synced up. In college with roommates, we all adjusted to be synced up. This is too much of a coincidence to be insignificant. I know there is no real evidence yet, but I think that evolutionarily it makes sense. I never knew why this was or even had an idea until the book mentioned smells and pheromones. It said that women are able to do this,"synchronizing through their detection of their pheromones emitted by nest mates,". Which makes sense. Nest mates could mean roommates, sisters, best friends, any other female one female may see frequently. The fact that "repeated exposure to other women's pheromones could induce mensural entrainment across the women, even without their awareness,"is both amazing and interesting to me. It sounds almost gross at first, that we smell one another's mensuration patterns and sync up to them, but it is honestly amazing and so interesting.
The video also brought up Martha McClintock's work and how important it was, yet at that time also not talked about.
Sunday, June 16, 2019
This book really got me to think about things that I never used to think about. I always thought that sight was the most important sense, but from reading I found that they all have different important roles. I came across this website for kids that gives them an activity to do in order to explore different senses. The website explains that sight is the sense that we rely on the most. Our book “See What I’m Saying” talks about how vision allows you to sample less than half of your surroundings while hearing allows you to sample everything around you. This was important to me because I think that it is crazy that we don’t even prefer to rely on the sense that provides us with full surrounding support. I find it so interesting that we depend on specific senses for certain activities. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have all their senses, so it is important to understand each sense and how you can adapt to not being able to use one.
Something that I never really knew about before reading this book was echolocation. There has been so many times that I have tried to navigate my way through my own house in the dark, and still would bump into things, even though I have lived here for 21 years. I watched this short clip on YouTube about a boy named Sam. He has been practicing echolocation for five months and it was incredible to watch. I enjoyed reading the book, but seeing Sam use echolocation definitely made me more interested. I started thinking more about all the individuals that use sounds to play baseball, and even how swimmers that are visually impaired are able to swim with blacked out goggles on. Sam said that because his vision is impaired, his other senses are a lot stronger. Another video I watched focused on blind swimming. The swimmer talked about brushing his arm against the rope to feel if he was going straight. He had to use touch in order to guide himself. Using other senses to make up for the impairment of another is truly an amazing thing that we are able to do and it is amazing to learn about. I have learned that our brains use reflected sounds to perceive properties of silent objects.
links to videos:
One of the senses I found most interesting to learn about when reading “See What I’m Saying” was taste. More specifically, I enjoyed reading about dining at a restaurant that is pitch black. The individuals that were dining found that the smell of the food has an influence on how appetizing it is. The book talks about how the sound, touch, and other factors all influence what you are tasting. I watched a short video on YouTube about losing your sense of taste. In the video, Adrian explained that after he lost his sense of taste, he only eats simple foods because it is not enjoyable to eat without being able to taste any flavor. Like the book talks about, he adds spices and herbs to almost every food that he eats in order to enhance the smell sensation. He also believes it’s the texture of the spices that he enjoys, since he is unable to taste them. I find this extremely interesting since I never really took the time to think about how our senses play a huge role in eating. I would definitely find eating unenjoyable if I was unable to taste any flavor.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
I always thought it is amazing how blind people get around in the world. Reading more about it in our book of "See what I'm saying", made me think more of how such talent people who are blind have. I give them a lot of credit knowing how to make their way around the world not always seeing anything or not seeing clearly. I think it is amazing of how true it is of how your other senses such as hearing or touch increase a little. Although at the same time those senses are just being used more when someone is blind or even when someone may be blindfolded to see if their other senses change.
I myself had a little experience when being blindfolded. It is something that not everyone might believe, because I was skeptical about it first myself. Me and my boyfriend went on a ghost hunt at the eastern state penitentiary with a ghost hunt tour. At one point we stood in front of a cell with our backs facing toward the room. They blindfolded us and I noticed I could actually focus on the noises and the feeling of touch, such as if it randomly got cold in the room. I could hear far away faint screams of the spirits without me trying to look where they are coming from. One other part of the session, my boyfriend said he felt like someone touched his ankles so ghost hunt tour guide told them to touch someone else's ankles a few seconds later I felt out of no where a cold wind across my ankles for a brief moment. Also at the end of the session the tour guide said to the spirits to say goodbye to us, a few seconds later my arm started to rise very slowly with pins and needles feeling. About a min later my arm felt lighter and then slowly went down. It was definitely an experience, and pretty amazing how out of the whole night, being blindfolded was the most interaction I got with the spirits.