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Sarah Powers's picture

A Slice of Reality

We are physically capable of sensing a lot of the world around us, not everything but quite a bit.  What I find interesting, is the small portion of what we're able to percieve that we actually pay attention to.  We are not always aware of the clothes on our backs, but if someone brings your attention to it, "Hey, your shirt's on backwards," you become extremely aware of it.If we took in, and processed to the point of awareness, every simulus that came our way, we would quickly go into overload. We wouldn't be able to handle it.  Add on to that the fact that neurons can express action potentials right in the middle of an axon.  Not only do we have to deal with the external, we also need to select from the inputs from within our own bodies.  So how does our brain pick and choose for us? What's the critera?Karen, you mentioned people with mental disorders.  Autisitics are a prime example.  Think of an autistic child who hates going to the grocery store.  He is so miserable because he can sense the light cycling in the flourescent lighting, almost like a buzz, and is acutely aware of all the people surrounding him, moving around, talking, making noise.  I think that his brain doesn't know which inputs to choose. He is experiencing more of reality than I would in that grocery store.  We think of autistics as disabled, but they might have a better idea of what the reality around us is.  

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