Thursday, January 19, 2012

Motion-induced blindness

A friend shared this link and I think it's worth sharing here as well. We're taught as student pilots that when we're scanning for traffic, we need to look at different sections of the sky for short periods and not fixate. The reason has more to do with our optic system architecture than with our conscious ability to recognize objects. The brain does many things for us automatically at levels below our awareness, and it does not do all of them well! Try this on-line experiment. If you look at the yellow dots you can see that the demo is honest - the dots are there the whole time. If you fixate on the central dot the yellow dots will disappear. This is not the classic optic nerve blind spot demo - this is more about the neural networks that perform pattern recognition. If you shift your gaze slightly, the dots will reappear. So to compensate for this effect in real life - to spot air traffic - it's essential to shift your gaze frequently.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Equally fun: