Recent discoveries in neuroscience and medicine reveal that ninety percent of the perception of vision occurs as the brain decodes the impressions of light received from the eyes. All that the eyes can see is impressions of light. The brain decodes these impressions by comparing them to memories of previous impressions.
When a person’s brain is injured in an area that is used to store a specific kind of visual memory the person is rendered blind in relation to that type of visual perception. For example, one brain injured man cannot see and recognize faces, although he can see bodies, things and landscapes. He recognizes his family members based on his other perceptions.
Science has also revealed that sixty percent of the average person’s brain is dedicated to the perception of vision. This leaves the senses of hearing, touch, taste and scent, plus other mental functions to the rest of the brain. Vision is our most dominant sense.
The ability to decode information and most especially visual information is related to intelligence. While prescriptions for corrective lenses allow the eyes to clearly perceive, they do not increase perception or ability beyond the intake of raw data. What is most important is how your brain decodes and uses that impressions of light received from the eyes.
The brain can continue to grow, and people can actually become more selectively intelligent throughout life. Selective intelligence means perceptual and cognitive understandings and mastery in a specific area or subject. Thus, Einstein was a genius when relation to physics and mathematics, but he was far less brilliant in other areas.
We all know that when we see people often they are easier to recognize. When we have a new model of a gadget, such as a cell phone, it takes a period of time before we are comfortable with the new model. During that period we are creating and storing memories that our brains can the use. When we have enough memories for ease of perceptual decoding we feel comfortable.We only experience seeing what our prior visual memories enable the brain to decode into meaningful data.
A person with many kinds of visual memories can actually see more because have more visual references in their memory. The more we move out of our comfort zones to experience people, places and things that are new, the more we expand our comfort zones.
In industrialized society we are bombarded with images at a rate that is unprecedented in the history of humankind. In one day an average middle class middle aged urban dweller sees more new and vastly different images on screens (such as PCs, TVs and Cell phones), on billboards and signs, in printed media, and in store windows and on populated streets than a village dweller in an undeveloped country might see in a year.
Both the urbanite and village dweller in an undeveloped country may have their eyes open for roughly the same amount of time, yet the urbanite’s brain has adapted and has developed differently than the brain of the village dweller. The urbanite has greater visual intelligence and is able to decode more, and visually comprehend new information faster as it is more experienced.
Studies have proven that visual exposure to a subject produces more recognition. However, the best kind of exposure involves active looking, the kind of looking you are doing now in order to decipher this text. Contrast this with the kind of looking one might do as one hurries along a street, focuses only on one’s forward path and purposefully ignoring much else—there is not much conscious deciphering or inquisitive involvement..
A hobby such as bird watching benefits the brain as it involved focused visual learning and attentiveness. People attend games to watch fast paced sports on a regular basis see nuances and understand movements that casual fans miss. However, when one watches on a TV, especially a large screen TV the focused factor is lost as the camera actually shows one where to look, and viewing is visually more passive.
We can purposefully visually train out brains at any age. In fact, visual brain stimulation, including games helps to slow and even reverse the brain’s aging process. Museums where one is visually stimulated through new sights are wonderful exercise studios for the brain and if a person actively focuses on and investigates the art or items displayed.
For the average healthy person fitness needs to include brain fitness. The fastest and most effective way to improve the brain is through focused visual stimulation. This means active looking, which is focused and inquisitive. The more we learn, especially visually, the more knowledge that we can apply, the more our brains actually grow by creating memories and links and so we become functionally smarter.