Feb 15, 2016

What You See Isn’t What You Saw


People say things like;

“If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it!”

“Seeing is believing.”

“I’ll have to see it to believe it.”

But, is our sense of sight as accurate as we think it is? According to what neuroscience has discovered about the eye, the transfer of information from the eye to the Occipital Lobe, and the further sharing with the rest of the brain, the answer is “No.”

According to Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Kandel, the eyes take incomplete information from the external world and is not faithful in transferring the external reality to our brain. Based on our belief system, it will take in what it feels is important and negate what it feels isn’t important while it emphasizes certain parts of the images coming in and discards others. The brain is what creates three-dimensional objects in faces, scenery, etc. and what is absolutely amazing is that all of this is a reconstruction within the brain. Beyond that, the retinas of our eyes have about 100 million photo receptive cells which line the back. Before the information is sent down the Optic Nerve the information is compressed by 100 to only about 1 million bits. Again, a process through the unconscious mind decides of this 1 million bits of information what is important, what isn’t, and throws away the “incidental” information. This is at least the second cycle of this process and there may be more. By the way, the picking and choosing of information coming in through our senses applies to all of our senses.

So, how do we get what is interpreted as a “complete picture”? The unconscious mind “fills in the blanks”, adds color and depth, and our brain is what creates our reality. For instance, separate parts of the brain store pieces of our reality. If I say that I’m thinking of an animal, the brain goes looking for the area where you’ve stored pictures of animals. I then say, it’s gray and large, and the brain goes looking for where large gray animals is kept. I then say the gray animal has a tail and, finally that it has a long trunk…and you’ll construct an picture of an elephant. This is all done in nanoseconds. The point is, we construct information and fill-in-the-blanks through associations. (Just in case someone says there are no single places where information on elephants is kept in our brain, they would be correct. The brain has a huge amount of redundancy!)

This is interesting, and how does this apply to your business and life? You may experience things with yourself and others that can be frustrating because you didn’t understand how someone could miss things that were so obvious to you. Have you ever had an accident while driving because you didn’t see another vehicle or some other object? How could that car have been coming? You looked three times and you didn’t see it. Now you know that your brain cancelled out the car because it was unconsciously decided to be “incidental’ information to your brain for that moment in time. Leaders in organizations sometime become exasperated at their people because they missed things that were “obvious”. I would love to hear your comments below about experiences you’ve had that you saw, heard, felt, tasted, or smelt, something that was there, or not there, one moment and not there, or there, the next.

If you’ve read my posts before, then you know I don’t look for ways to make reasons and excuses. That’s not the purpose of this post. The purpose is to make people aware of how the mind creates our reality and to account for the filtering processes it goes through before they make snap and harsh judgments. Who knows, even you may not have seen what you thought you saw!

By the way, there are some very interesting uses for this phenomena which can be facilitated and I’d be glad to share those with you!

+++++++++++++++About Dr. Edward Lewellen++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Edward Lewellen an expert in creating methodologies for people to learn to use their mind; their beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors, and put them back in control of their lives and become top-producers. He is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.

Author of The 90-Second Mind Manager