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mcchen's picture

Eyewitnesses and vision as a construction of the brain

This week we talked about how everything you see is a constructed best guess from our brains.  While I have heard this before, I do not quite know how to rationalize it.  If everything we see is our "guess" of the world, only from similar upbringings or culture surroundings would we be able to see the world in a similar fashion.  While our eyes all work the same, we are all different people who interpret situations differently.  This led me to think of the validity of eyewitnesses during murder trials or any other trial.  Based on what we learned this week, the eyewitnesses to certain crimes could have not seen the full crime at all but their brains filled in the blanks for them making them think they did.  Our brains are programmed at "filling-in-the-blanks", but that can have some serious consequences if the wrong person is put away in prison for 10 years.  When our brain fills in the blank, what is it based on? With the cross and dot illusion, our brain filled in the blank with the pattern behind it based on a pattern we had seen before. But in the case of seeing a crime, what do our brains draw from? Are there certain cultural pattern we are used to seeing? Or does the brain give the best "guess" at who we thought we saw commit the crime? 


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