Monthly Archives: February 2014

Where’s the fire? Blog #1Marci Free

Marci Free

Professor Romano


February 2, 2014

Where’s the fire?

                Tuesday , January 28, 2014, a typical late night at work, hearing traffic on the street and an occasional siren of sorts passing by. I recall hearing more sirens than normal around 6p.m.  on this Monday evening, but I was engrossed in my work and didn’t really think much about it. It is a main entrance into town from the neighboring town about 10 miles away, it is common to hear ambulance sirens coming into town. Little did I know what was really occurring. Little did I know what I would see when I left work a few hours later.

As I left work around 8p.m., I noticed a distinct smell in the air as I was walking to my car.  I was heading over the bridge to the grocery store to get some items for my sister-in-law who was 9 months pregnant and had the flu. As I was driving down the street I noticed a fire truck coming across the bridge. The truck was from Vernon fire department was heading over the bridge into the city, this is normally a sign of nothing good. I headed over to the grocery store, not really thinking much about it. As I headed back over the bridge, which arches so you can see over the city a little,  from the grocery store to my sister-in-laws home I could see a huge cloud of smoke and an orange glow. It was from somewhere about half way across town. As I drove towards my sister-in-laws I saw red strobe lights down the streets in the blocks nearing the location of the fire.

I was trying to figure out where the fire was, it was pretty big and I was praying that everyone got out. With the streets closed off it was not easy to figure out what building it was. Eventually through driving down different alley’s I realized it was a huge building on the corner by the YMCA. This was a large building that housed 12 apartments, of which 9 were occupied. I had assumed this was an apartment building throughout the years but I was never really sure.

According to the Meadville Tribune there were 10 fire departments involved in assisting to control the fire. They tried fighting off the fire but at about 6:31p.m. the fire chief,  had to call everyone out of the building because it was too dangerous. From that point on they just tried to control the fire as there were buildings next door. It was only 1 degree farenheit outside. This was a huge house and by the time I saw it, it was obvious it was a complete loss. There were at least 2 aerial ladders trucks trying to spray down onto the fire.   It was a bitter cold night, I was also praying for safety for the firemen and anyone involved. My son is a junior fireman; he heard on his scanner that some of the departments did not get back to the station until around midnight. (Gushard, 2014)

We made sure to pick up the Meadville Tribune the next day, it turns out it was a large apartment building on the corner of Liberty Street and Chestnut St. Luckily the YMCA was able to be used as a warming station for the firemen and displaced families. Local restaurants donated coffee, pizza. The building was a complete loss and such a danger that they started tearing it down 2 days after the fire. Someone had reported that when they were in the apartment building earlier that afternoon that something smelled off. The fire didn’t break out until around 5:30p.m. that evening. Everyone was able to escape the fire unharmed although unfortunately they lost all of their belongings. The community has been great in donating and helping out the families get back on their feet.

Works Cited

Gushard, K. (2014, January 29). Out in the Cold. The Meadville Tribune. P.A1 & A6.

Have the “Talk” with Your Children

In the modern world today, there are many children and teens that turn up missing. Worse, they turn up dead. I am a mother of a 7 year old and a 4 year old, both girls, and this is something that is a constant worry of mine as they grow everyday. If anything happened to my daughters, it would kill me. One of the biggest blames for their abductions and murders would be the internet. There is also, of course, the cyberbullying and the fact that it would be easy to ruin your reputation. “It is time to have the talk with your children”, says a counselor of a Lowder Group in Greenville who went by the name of Karen Heaps. The fact that the frontal lobe of the people are not fully developed until they are in the beginning of 20s, it is up to the parents to provide our children with the information they would need to know in order to handle this sort of situation correctly.

According to our text book, the frontal lobe is receives all the signals from all the senses in your body and plays an important role in your perceptions that involve the coordination of information received through two or more senses. It is the part of the brain that regulates decision making, problem solving, control of purposeful behaviors, consciousness, and emotions according to the National Institutes of Health. With this in mind, we could understand Heaps’ concern with the children and technology. Children, in their growing years, go through a sort of a rollercoaster of emotions and are constantly changing mentally, physically, and emotionally. With the technology within reach and how skilled they are with computers, even the sky isn’t the limit. It can be a wonderful thing but it can also be a terrible, dangerous thing. It is up to us, the parents, to guide them in the right path.

As the statistics shows, up to 43% of the children using the internet have been bullied on the internet and only 1 in 10 of them would report it to their parents or trusted ones. What’s worse is the fact that these bullied victims are between two to nine times more likely to consider committing suicide. And as Heaps explained, the frontal lobe where is where we visualize the consequences, make plans, keep track of time, and learn from the past; these children wouldn’t be making the best decision for themselves or others without knowing all the right information they would need for a situation like this. With the frontal lobe not fully developed, they may act on any impulses including attempting suicide.

Also according to the statistics, ninety-three percent of the children now uses the internet and there are predators or pedophiles that actively seek for children to meet them somewhere. A little over a quarter of these children online will be asked to send a nude photograph of themselves and/or perform sexual activities via webcams. And one out of twenty-five will be asked to make an offline contact. Again, with the frontal lobe not being fully developed until the twenties and without being taught on how to correctly handle these situations; the statistics are expected to stay as is or worsen over the years unless we, as the parents, take precautions with our children.

Overall, a lot of things depend on our frontal lobe and it plays a huge role in the decisions we make on a daily basis. Children and teenagers aren’t old enough, especially due to the fact that their frontal lobe still isn’t fully developed, to make the decisions where their life would depend on. That is our cue for the parents to step in and show the right way of handling these sorts of situations. Have the “talk” with your children and do what you can to save them from harm’s way.


Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience, 3rd Edition. Wadsworth, Inc.

For the last few years I have been working in a prerelease center for women felons. More specifically I work in a Culinary Arts program at our facility as an instructor. Learning about Gestalt theory and the way the mind perceives the world around us; led me to thinking about the people I work with and how some of them see themselves, and their world that they live in.

Most of the women I have come into contact with fall into one of two groups:

  • They know what they did, and why it was wrong.
  • They feel that they themselves were wronged, they are victims, and the world is out to get them.

Regardless of how the feel about their crime or themselves the majority of them feel that there punishment is too harsh, and most of them don’t seem to realize that we are there to help them. They struggle to grasp that we are trying to help them better themselves, and give them the skills to be successful in life outside of corrections. They come to our facility with the mindset of we are just another form of punishment that they don’t deserve or programing that they don’t need.

I have discovered through talking with the residents at our facility that before they even come they already have an image in their minds of what the facility will be like. They have heard stories from other inmates at the prison down the road, or have been in other facilities similar to ours. This, in my opinion, causes them to distort the reality of the situation. They don’t see all of the opportunities we offer, and the services we provide; but rather have programed their minds into only seeing strict rules, harsh punishments, and given themselves a sense of isolation feeling that they are alone.

Through some reading on Gestalt psychology I came across Perls’s Gestalt therapy.  Perls’s Gestalt therapy emphasizes five main issues: Awareness of problems; the creative contact of the whole Self with the environment; reshaping one’s sensory capacities; the importance of the present encounter to make one aware; providing the person with opportunities for self-discovery. (Masters, 2003)

We, following somewhat in a Gestalt counseling model, are trying to help them grow by becoming independent, and learn to support themselves. I am fairly certain that we do not have any counselors in our facility that actually follow the Gestalt approach, but implementing parts of this could possibly be beneficial in helping our residents become more self-aware and give them a greater chance for success rather than simply leaving with the preformed idea of what our facility is and how their experience was or will be.

Masters, R. E. (2003). Counseling Criminal Justice

Faulty Heuristics- Ashishpal Singh

Heuristics are useful mental shortcuts and rules of thumb that provide a best-guess solution to a problem (Goldstein). They are essential to efficient cognitive function and help us quickly make judgments. Without access to these functions, we would not be able to leave our homes in the morning because we would be forced to conduct a thorough examination of everything around us. However, these processes don’t always lead to accurate assumptions and are often responsible for bad decisions. I have certainly been guilty of making inaccurate assumptions due to relying on faulty heuristics but in the following paragraphs I will delve more deeply into how I have become a victim of people’s faulty assumptions.

I am a follower of Sikhism, a religion erected 500 years ago in Northern India. We don articles of faith that include long uncut hair which is wrapped in a turban. Following the devastating 9/11 tragedy, the only turbaned figures found in American media were those of Islamic extremists. People naturally began attributing the image of bearded, turbaned men with Islam, and others went as far to assume that everyone who dons such an image is a terrorist. In fact, the word “terrorist” in itself became synonymous with this image. I was lucky to live in a relatively liberal and educated area but even then most people believed that I was Muslim or Hindu and a select few would even yell racial slurs at my family and I when we were out in public. The assumptions were based on media reports and the wide spread Islamophobia at the time. However, the fact is that 99 percent of turbaned individuals worldwide are members of the Sikh faith (Jacobsen). The mental shortcuts people applied resulted in inaccurate assumptions and it is important to understand the downfalls of heuristics.

Heuristics are invaluable and a perfect mechanism for many problems but for other situations, they can lead to inaccurate assumptions and individuals should be conscious of this in order to over-ride this automatic process. We are not passive viewers of the world, and heuristics are sometimes susceptible to causing faulty perceptions of reality.

Jacobsen, Knut A., and Kristina Myrvold. “Sikhizing the Sikhs.” Sikhs across Borders: Transnational Practices of European Sikhs. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012. 152-53. Print.

Goldstein, E. Bruce. “Chapter 3: Perception.” Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. 3rd ed. Australia: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008. N. pag. Print.

Prosopagnosia: recognizing strangers

Prosopagnosia is known as “a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces (Shiel, p.2). Prosopagnosia, also known as Face Blindness, is believed to be caused by an abnormality or damage to the right fusiform gyrus. This part of the brain coordinates the neural system that controls facial perception and memory (Shiel, p.1).

There is an article written by David Roger Fine where he explains how at his 60 years of age he has been able to live with prosopagnosia. He described it as a very difficult illness, but also said that little by little he was able to compensate it. David mentioned that he noticed how difficult it was during his childhood to identify his twin sisters, but his mom thought it was a matter of laziness. Furthermore, he explained that he did not recall any problems during his childhood when relating with his peers. However, his microsystem was very small. Even though he mentioned not having difficulties, he couldn’t remember faces, instead he remembered special features of each individual. These features included: hats, glasses, freckles, hair color, etc. Moreover, his wife pointed out that he had a tendency to remember the worst features of a person.  It wasn’t until he turned 53 years old that he was diagnosed with prosopagnosia. Now in his later years he introduces himself and tells them about his face-blindness. Fine explains how relieved he feels that he finally has a name to what might have seemed rude to many. Now every time someone meets him they must re-introduce themselves. David comments that he is unable to go alone to places as he ends up “recognizing” strangers, and ignoring familiar faces.

Prosopagnosia is a disorder that affects the perception of the individual. It doesn’t allow you to remember the faces of those you know. Perception is the topic of the third lesson. The class textbook explains that people that suffer from prosopagnosia are unable to even recognize themselves sometimes. They can distinguish what faces are, but cannot associate them with the people they know.



Fine, D.R. (2012).  A life with Prosopagnosia. EBSCO Host, 29(5), 354-539. doi: 10.1080/02643294.2012.736377

Shiel, W.C. (2014). Face Blindness (Prosopagnosia, Facial Agnosia). Retrieved from

Staring Statues, A Top-down Processing Illusion

When I was a little girl, I loved going to Disneyland. My family only went about once a year, but each time I went, I just had to ride the Haunted House! Filled with flying ghosts, stretching pictures and singing statues, the Haunted House was as much magical as it was terrifying for me. One particular illusion I found fascinating was of two, white statue heads that stared at me as I walked through the hall of portraits. Each year, I would linger a little longer, staring back at those statues, wondering how they were staring at me at the same time other people claimed that the statues were staring at them. One year, I was bold enough to take a closer look and, to my surprise, they were not statues at all! In fact, instead of being convex, they were actually concave. This fascinated me even more, especially because they continued to look like rounded, white statues even after I knew that they weren’t. Recently, I learned that an illusion like this is achieved by something called top-down processing (Goldstein, 2011).

Top-down processing occurs when we look at something and our previous knowledge or expectations influence how we perceive what we are looking at (Goldstein, 2011). In the case of the two statues in the hall of portraits of Disneyland’s Haunted House, previous experience with looking at a statue of a person’s head, as well as the innumerable amount of times I had looked at a person’s face, would cause me to expect that the statues and their faces were convex. Therefore, when I looked at the concave, white molds of statue heads, lit up in a dark room and surrounded by a thick black border, I perceived them as curving outward toward me.

You may be wondering why Disney didn’t just choose to use normal, rounded statues. I thought the same thing. The park is filled with mechanical dolls and puppets, so why wouldn’t they just do the same for these statues and make them mechanically follow people as they walk by? They could have, but then they would not have been able to achieve the illusion that the statues were staring back at every individual at the same time. Again, because of top-down processing that happens in our brains, each person is experiencing the illusion based on their own prior experiences and expectations (Goldstein, 2011). The statues would appear to follow me as I walked past them because the part of the faces that got cut off, from my point of view, due to them being concave and not convex, is what I’d expect a person’s facial features to look like, according to my past experience, when looking at me from that angle. Meanwhile, another person could be walking in the opposite direction of me and for the same reasons the statues would look as if they were looking at them.

Finally, you may be wondering why the illusion continued to work, even after acquiring the knowledge that the statues were actually concave molds facing away from me. As the narrator of the video “Hollow Face Optical Illusion –” states, we have such a large amount of knowledge containing faces with noses that stick out, that the top-down processing overrides any signals from the receptors in our visual senses that says otherwise.

So the next time you get a chance to visit Disneyland or Disneyworld or maybe even a nearby haunted house during Halloween, make sure to take a closer look at what kinds of illusions you may be experiencing due to top-down processing. It’s amazing the way our brains work! To experience the illusion now, check out the following two videos…

Hollow Face Optical Illusion –


Hollow face illusion by John Kubie, author of “Depth Perception and The Hollow Face Illusion” on


Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Beyond bottom-up processing. In Cognitive psychology: Mind, research and everyday experience (3rd ed., pp. 52-56). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Hollow face optical illusion – (2008, March 29). YouTube. Retrieved February 2, 2014, from

Kubie, J. (2013, July 28). Depth Perception and the Hollow Face Illusion. Retrieved February 1, 2014, from

The Science of Visual Attention (in a family of birders)


“The question is not what you look at, but what you see” – Henry David Thoreau

My older son, 10 years old, is a novice but avid birder. He is extremely good. Because of his young eyes and endless energy, the members of the local Audubon Society chapter adore him. My husband and younger son have joined him in his birding adventures, and they are in the trails almost every weekend. They can find hummingbird nests (those are tiny, moss like constructions that look just like a bump in a tree), they can identify a whopping crane in a group of sandhill cranes, they can look at a group of ducks and tell you at least three to fours species in the group. Together, they identified over 170 species of birds in 2013.

After reading chapter 3 in the book and looking around, I realized that their talent could be representative of the nature of perceptions covered in this lesson and decided to ask them some questions: What do you look for, when you look for a bird? What do you see, when you see a bird? How do you know it’s a bird?. I intent to identify the principles of perceptions processing in my sons and husband experiences birding, and share my findings with you.

What do you look for, when you look for a bird?

They told me they look for anomalies in the trees. They receive the visual stimulus, their brains process them: vertical lines=trunk, roundish area=foliage. That’s the bottom-up processing: the stimulation of the receptors and the recognition by components. This part is very interesting, because instead of actually looking for a bid, they look for anomalies by comparing the image they are seeing with the shape of the tree they know from previous experiences (and this is bottom-down processing: they apply their previous knowledge or expectations). Those feedback signals, make them aware of any point they would focus, for example: usually foliage is not closer to the thicker branches. So, if there is something closer to the trunk or thicker branches, it means that there may be a bird! They also look for movement, which is an anomaly in the expected image of a tree (a leave or branch moving the opposite direction of the wind, may be a small bird or a bird standing on a branch and slowing down the movement)

What do you see when you see a bird?

They said: size, colors and particular features. Sometimes, they see part of a bird and the principle of recognition by components, which is the ability to recognize an object by recognizing elemental features of it, can be shown in this situation. If they are able to see enough geons (parts) of a bird they may be able to identify it, for example: the body of birds may be similar, and among similar body shapes, specially when you are not able to differentiate colors, a long thin beak will immediately tell you that you are looking at a woodpecker. The “multiple personalities of a blob”, which is the ability to perceive an object based on its orientation and contexts, can be exemplify here too. The song birds and nuthatchers have similar body shape, even similar colors sometimes. But we know a song bird will be perched on a thin branch while a nuthatch would be walking down on the trunk of a tree. Indeed, if it’s walking up the tree trunk is likely to be a woodpecker instead! It can be a bob, but the location can tell you what bird it is, not requiring to see colors for identification. And feedback signals are telling them what to expect in each location.

How do you know it’s a bird or the bird you are looking for?

They responded, sometimes they would see many birds together. Seeing a house finch in front of a robin far behind may cause the eye to believe they are the same size, especially because they may be similar in colors. But the phenomenon of size constancy, our tendency to perceive objects as reminding the same size even from the distance, can tell a birder the Robin is 10 times bigger that the finch, which may tell confirm identification.

In addition to that, there is a great deal of depth perception in birding. Owls would give us a great example for depth perception. They are hard to see, they hide inside holes in the trees. They camouflage and their colors matches the tree trunks, but when attention is put to the changes and depth of the surface of the bark, birders can realize there is a hole and knowing the chances that the bark they see is not bark, but an owl they can start noticing the features of the owl. And I am sure, birders may as well, be seeing owl faces where there is only a trunk (like in the Forest Has Eyes Picture in the textbook).

Birding serves provides great examples to explain processing of perception. Research has shown than birders’s brains activate the areas of face recognition when identifying birds. The ability of the brain to: segmentate and put together several stimulus, introduce context and expectations, and add knowledge from previous experiences complete a full intake of our sensory experiences… while birding and beyond.


Gauthier, I., Skudlarski, P., (2000) Expertise for cars and birds recruits brain areas involved in face recognition. Nature America.

Tarr, M., Cheng, Y. (2003) Learning to see faces and objects. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Colored Illusions

Colored Illusions


For this lesson I have chosen a Ted Talk video on perception and optical illusions. Dr. Beau Lotto has a PhD in Neuroscience and works at the Institute of Ophthalmology. He talks about color perception while using games and puzzles to test our ability to distinguish between reality and perception. He focuses on how our brain works, but more on how our projections and interactions with the world can perceive our reality, not to mention he has a really cool name, which caught my attention.


He opens his talk with a game of colored dots, asking the audience to choose which color dot from two different boards are really the same in color? He has them choose between orange, green or gray. The interesting part of the game is that with the boards side by side the colored dots all look like they are matching on either side, but when he pulls the colors orange and green off of the left board and sits them next to the similar color on the right board it is clear that the colors on the left board are much darker then on the right. The gray dot was the only one that was indeed the same color on both boards. This experiment uses the bottom-up process and clearly shows how the receptors in the eye detected the light in similar fashion while sending signals that these colors were reflecting as one and the same. In other words, the information taken from the environment signaled to the eye that the colors were equal in frequency creating the illusion of similarity, but in reality was a mislead.


Dr. Lotto explains that sensory information, the light that falls on the eye is meaningless and it is what we do with the information that structures our reality. He claims we see by learning to see, explaining that the brain evolves by finding patterns and relationships of information and using those relationship patterns with a behavioral meaning while interacting with the world.  He shows this very clearly by using letter strings to spell out sentences. An example he used is “Ca yu rea t is?” This experiment is using the top-down process by taking structured sentences from our past and applying them to connect the dots when pieces of the puzzle are missing.


The conclusion to his many experiments and games showed clearly how our brains can redefine normality by using color and past patterns. The hue upon which you set your sight on can determine what you are perceiving at that one moment in time and yet the truth can be far from what you perceive if the hue is changed and a different light is cast upon your vision. This trick of the eye uses movement, angles and relationships to influence how our brain deciphers information. The two applications of bottom-up and top-down can alter how the physiology of the brain processes its environment and therefore allows someone to experience a unique perspective unto themselves.



Filmed JUL 2009 • Posted OCT 2009 • TEDGlobal2009

Alan Turing – Computer Intelligence, and the Tragedy of a Hero

As a software developer, one of my heroes for many years has been the English scientist Alan Turing.  He was one of the first people to talk about the concepts of machine intelligence and machine learning.  His insight was brilliant, and, beyond his contributions to computer science, he was a hero who came to a tragic end.

I first heard of the Turing Test when I was 13.  I’d already been programming in BASIC, and was fascinated by the idea of artificial intelligence.  The Turing Test seemed simple enough; a computer program had to convince a human that it wasn’t a computer program — it was also a human.  Essentially, a person would sit down at a computer and start a natural language conversation with two entities — one a computer and one another human.  The tester would need to determine which responses were coming from a computer, and which were coming from a human. While not a sign of actual intelligence, per se, it is still a valuable exercise in understanding communication and thought.

As a teenager, I thought this wouldn’t be that difficult, with enough lines of code.  So I started making up a Q&A Turing Test, just to see how it would work.  Let’s look at an example of some input, computer ‘deliberation’, and responses:

Human: “Hello, I’m Lee”

(simple introduction… respond in kind.)

Computer: “Hi Lee, I’m Hal.  How are you?”

Human: I’m well.  Looking forward to the Superbowl.  How about those Seahawks?

(… assuming the software knows what a Superbowl is… and the Seahawks… and can put the Seahawks into context, and not determine the human is talking about a type of bird — three pretty huge assumptions already)

Computer: Yes, it will be exciting.  The Seahawks are great this year.

Lee: Do you have any plans?

(… assuming the computer is still understanding that Lee is talking about the superbowl… and that people ‘do’ things for the superbowl – going to parties or sports bars and such…)

It quickly becomes clear just what a huge undertaking this kind of thing is. Conversation, it turned out, is incredibly complex.  So, even with a million if-then-else statements, and a computer fast enough to comb through them all to come up with an appropriate response, tricking a human that a computer program isn’t a computer program can be quite difficult. It can be done, but not consistently, and in many instances not convincingly.  In fact, there’s an annual prize that’s been around since the 1990s — the Loebner Prize — that aims to challenge programmers to write software that does what the Turing Test was getting at. The ‘winners’ so far have been not completely convincing ‘chatterbots’ that don’t demonstrate intelligence so much as good trickery.

It is impressive that Turing came up with his idea when computers were in their infancy. In fact, one of the most complicated machine Turing had encountered was not a computer at all. It was critically important to the future of the world, though. During World War II, Turing was the leader of a team of engineers and scientists that unlocked the secrets of Germany’s Enigma machine – a complex device the Nazis used during the war to send and receive coded messages.  The code generated by the machine was seemingly unbreakable.  Turing managed to essentially reverse engineer the Enigma machine and break the code, though, so the Allies were able to intercept and understand German transmissions.  Some historians estimate that Turing’s efforts shortened the war in Europe by 1-2 years (Fitzsimmons, 2013).

For all of his successes, Turing’s life ended sadly.  In the early 1950s, the British government convicted him of being a homosexual, which was a crime in Britain then.  He was forcibly chemically castrated.  Two years later, before he turned 42, Turing committed suicide.  Thus ended the life of one of the greatest contributors to computer science – and tangentially to cognitive psychology – as well as a great hero of World War II. Ironically, he was pardoned for his ‘crime’ by Queen Elizabeth II, just a little over a month ago.

Fitzsimmons, Emma.  “Alan Turing, Enigma Code-Breaker and Computer Pioneer, Wins Royal Pardon”,, December 24, 2013.  Last accessed February 2, 2014. Original Link:


Perception and Two Processing Streams

As we learn about the brain in Lesson 3, the brain, and Perception and two processing streams became very interesting to learn about.  As an infant, my mother and I were in a car accident that could have taken my life.  I was two months old at the time, but the impact of that accident has changed my life.  I’m writing about perception and two processing streams because of how this topic related to processing information.  This topic touches on how we process information, and how different situations may change how we might understand that information.

After the accident occurred, I was flown to the hospital, where my parents were given little hope.  By a miracle, I pulled through.  I had to undergo therapy and a couple eye surgeries to undo what the accident had caused.  My eye muscle had become weak, and processing information took more time.  As I entered school, it became clear that I had more damage to my brain than what my parents knew.  The doctor told my parents I would have trouble with depth perception.  It took longer for me to learn to read.  When it came to learning, I understood everything, but it took me longer than other children.  I was diagnosed with a learning disability, but never the less I wanted to prove the disability wrong.

In lesson 3 it talks about two processing streams in the brain.  One of the streams is being able to perceive objects and the other stream is being able to locate that particular object.  I found this interesting because where the Dorsal stream is on the figure in our notes where “how / where” highlighted, that is where I encountered the damage from the accident.  Learning to read, for example, took longer for me to understand.  I would understand what I was looking at in the book, but it took me longer retrieve the information back if I came across it again on another page.  At the same time I was still healing as my brain and skull continued to grow in size.  My brain and my bones were trying to play catch up with each other.

As referred to in the notes, D.F. had damage to her temporal lobe.  It’s different for her to undergo the tasks, because of the damage to the lobe.  Doctors were able to uncover the affected areas of her brain.  After performing the task of putting the mail in the mail slots, doctors could see where her brain was telling her different information than that of an unaffected individual’s brain.  Making this task seen as harder, difficult or just different for D.F. than other individuals. (Notes Lesson 3.)  I feel that even though my brain has weakened areas, like D.F., I am still able to perform tasks given to me, but it might require a different method or pattern for me to complete the task.

In conclusion, even though parts of the brain have been affected by the outside environment, doesn’t mean that the individual isn’t like everyone else.  It may take them longer to understand something, or it might take them longer to perform a task, but they are still able to complete what is given to them.  The brain has a way of compensating for a loss and finding a way to work around it.  Even though there was damage to parts of my brain, I still have the Dorsal and Ventral stream assisting with the “how/where” and “what” when it comes to understanding information in front of me.  Thankfully, with the help of doctors and the brain recovering and compensating for losses, we are able to move forward and learn from what we know.



Introduction to Cognitive Psychology.  Lesson 3.  Perception.  Two Processing Streams.