To see is to understand, and to see clearly through our eyes is an incredible concept. Most people would say that they are one of our main senses (the blind may respectfully disagree). Although, we often do not appreciate how much work that our eyes actually do for us day to day. Life would be much more difficult if we didn’t see in perfect HD, with clarity and consistency as we do simple things, like running errands or playing video games. It would be pretty terrible if one’s eyes were always out of focus much like a broken lens of a camera. Thank goodness for glasses and contacts! One of the most overlooked concepts about our vision is the mental processes it takes to see things the way we do. One common concept is called “Perceptual consistency”, which helps our minds to perfectly encode the images before us, and sort out possible conflicting sensory information that, once resolved, gives us an image that is picture perfect.
When I was little, I would look outside a car window and watch in awe as all of the trees and signs outside zoomed by me. I would watch and much of the time it made my stomach sick! When I was a child I also spent a lot of my life boarding planes because my family loves to travel. When on the plane, I would take my usual spot by the window and watch as the clouds stayed peacefully still and when our plane took off, the land thousands of miles below me, stood very still. Why did the signs move so fast and the earth move so slow? The answer lies within perceptual consistency!
Everything that I was seeing, kept its usual color, shape, size, texture, depth, you name it, no matter where we see it or how we look at it. Our minds even at such a young age, decipher these images and encode them in a way that uses a series of indicators to determine how to correctly view the object. There are three types of these consistencies: shape, size, and color. When I am in the car and I see another car driving on the opposite side of the road, I don’t think that the car is becoming huge and doubling in size every second, I know that the car is just getting closer. This is because of size consistency. It is not our eyes performing alone, but instead our brains, analyzing and making one aware that the car is just coming towards us, making it look larger. Without this gift of perceptual consistency, we would not be able to live the life we do now. This handy brain function is thought about that often, due to how normal and common it is for one to do it all the time without even realizing. However, there are hundreds of components to vision, and each of those components is extremely important to overall mental processes, especially with regard to how we see the world as we do.