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Making sense of ourselves
Making sense of ourselves

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3.5 What does this tell us about perception?

These examples demonstrate how our visual system is highly evolved to help us make sense of the world. Rather than us having to take in an image and consciously analyse it for meaning, we are able to glance at a scene and derive an understanding of it very quickly. While it could appear that visual illusions demonstrate how easily our brains can be tricked, in fact they reveal how efficient we are at processing information and how automatic shortcuts in processing increase this efficiency. The combination of prior knowledge, experience and context assist and develop these shortcuts, without which we would struggle to make sense of some visual scenes while being overloaded with processing demands.

However, our understanding of the visual system has advanced greatly over the last 40 years, allowing us to appreciate that vision is just once piece of the puzzle in explaining how we process and understand the information taken in by our eyes.