Thursday, June 7, 2012

Final Post-Michelle Ghaul

General Overview
Perception is our sensory experience of the world around us. It involves two components:  first receptive recognition of environmental stimuli and second reactions we elicit in response.

Take a moment to think of all the things you perceive on a daily basis. At any given moment, you might see familiar objects in your environment, feel the touch of objects and people against your skin, smell the aroma of a home-cooked meal, see a viscous dog across the street and take action by going inside to avoid getting attacked, see an infant begin to recognize familiar faces and voices, hearing your mom tell you it’s time for dinner and going downstairs to the dinner table, seeing someone walk past your house,   or hear the sound of music playing in your next door neighbor's apartment. In driving we have multiple components of perception such as paying attention receptively to the road as it winds and narrows,  depth perception, movement sense as we speed up and slow down, merging of traffic just to name a few.

All of these sensory experiences make up the conscious/unconscious reactions to our experiences.  Perception creates the responses as we interact with the people and objects around us. It’s our perception…awareness…sensitivity…acuity of the world around us!

Favorite Part
Chapter four on visual attention was one of the most captivating chapters. “Visual attention looks at how the observer seeks out stimuli in scenes, how they perceive some things and not others, and how these active processes shape their perception of the things around them.” Often, as in driving, we need to pay attention to many things at once. This is known as divided attention. We are visually attending and perceiving information on many levels such as attention to cars, stop signs, people crossing the road, or traffic lights. Think about how often you engage in divided attention.  I hope that I have your selective attention as you read my post!

Selective attention is the ability to focus on specific objects and ignore others by filtering. Some people find it extremely difficult to focus on one specific stimulus and disregard all the distractions. These people are often diagnosed with attention deficits. Students with may have trouble focusing on the teacher with the distractions around them such as the students in the back of the classroom talking, pencils dropping, or friends walking past their classroom. Medication is often used to enhance focus and filter out distractions; however this does not fix the problem. It is a temporary solution which wears off in an allotted time.

Selective attention can cause change blindness which is the difficulty in detecting changes in scenes. Some movies had errors that go unseen due to change blindness. Normally, you may not notice changes in scenes the first time you watch a movie. However, by the third time you may start to notice changes in scenes.

 See if you can find the changes in the different scenes. (Ignore my dad’s slightly different facial expressions and placement of hands.)

Sometimes our attention is so selective, we have trouble noticing change, even when it should be obvious.

Inattentional blindness is our failure to perceive a stimulus that isn’t attended, even if it’s in full view. 
Below is a youtube video where you can test your awareness.
I recently read an article on neurofeedback therapy for attention disorders.  Neurofeedback therapy retrains the brain to produce electrical patterns associated with attention and focus. During a therapy session, the child would sit in a chair facing a laptop screen that is connected to electrodes which are applied to the scalp. There is special software that monitors the electrical activity in the brain. Specifically, it measures the theta and beta waves. The child would play a game on the laptop. If his or her attention wanders, the screen goes blank. Then the therapist would encourage the child to regain focus. The sooner the child regains focus, the sooner the game comes back on. By praising or rewarding the child for concentrating on the game should essentially teach him or her to focus in other settings, such as school. After reading this article I began thinking about all that I have learned about attention. The neurofeedback therapy basically teaches children how to engage in selective attention. I think this is a very effective approach and it should be favored over medication. Medication is a temporary fix while neurofeedback retrains the brain and often cures the problem.

You can learn more about neurofeedback from the article below:

In conclusion, perception is a complex act of the brain involving cognition and understanding as it perceives the world around us. Perception apprehends the multi-sensory experiences of our waking moments and directs us in action and focus.  Perception is the insight and intuition of our life. 

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