Our senses are inferential by nature. This means that our senses pick up on different kinds of stimuli and the brain infers a meaningful percept. Probably there’s an objective reality out there but that is not what we perceive. Colors don’t really exist in nature for instance, they are just distinct wave lengths of light interpreted by our brains as color. Probably because it is highly useful in finding food and recognizing predators.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? No, because sound is something constructed by our brains by using the pressure wave input received by the cochlea. The waves are still there but it doesn’t make any sound if there’s no brain to generate the perception of sound.
You get the idea. The brain picks up on different kinds of signals through our senses and assembles one consistent subjective percept of our environment. Now wrap your brain around the following anecdote.
Inferring anaglyph depth through touch
Tranaglyphs (transparent anaglyph) are transparent plastic cards used in combination with red green anaglyph glasses. One of the cards depicts a red image and the other a complementary green image. If you combine them with the glasses a normally sighted person would perceive one single 3D image.
Definitely not dyslexic
Most people associate reading difficulties with the word ‘dyslexia’ whatever that means. Dyslexia must have good marketing. I looked it up on the internet and there’s all kinds of vague and inconsistent definitions. Reading is a very complex process so I’m sure a lot can go wrong. The thing is to figure out what is keeping that particular person from reading adequately. The only book I have read somewhat covering the subject beyond binocular vision is ‘The woman who changed her brain’. Binocular reading problems were called ‘motor symbol sequencing deficits’ and was the most common reading bully. The other two were a Broca area deficit (auditory speech) and a symbol recognition deficit. I figured if dyslexia did not refer to eye teaming problems it would probably refer to the inability to recognize letters quickly and infer meaning. After doing that internet search, I’m not so sure anymore. The paragraph should probably be called ‘definitely not symbol recognition deficient’.
Here’s how I know I don’t have a symbol recognition deficit. My Vision Therapist uses a customized computer program enabling her to test certain things and then send me downloadable exercises based on those tests. All of them partly in red and partly in green of course to make them anaglyph compatible. Eccentric circles are a classic but lately we’ve been mixing it up with more game like exercises. Nothing too exciting but I have a tolerance for boring stuff as long as it serves a purpose. One of the most recent exercises is one that tests and trains ‘visual capturing and memory’. The program displays a number of symbols during a fraction of a second and then you have to reproduce it by memory. Some people apparently find this hard even for very recognizable words. When doing this exercise with actual words my tests scores are impeccable. I think this must be one of the ways I compensated for unstable eye movements. You don’t get much time or much stable vision so you have to infer a lot from what you do get to see when reading.
Interestingly the program allows you to do the exact same exercise with random red green combinations of five unusual symbols (cross, star, square, rectangle, circle). Then you have to reproduce them by clicking on the right symbols in the right order. Man, do I suck at those. Goes to show how trained we get at recognizing words. I’ve been doing that exercise for a while now but improvement is slow. I think I can only really focus on three or four of those symbols at once and try to make a quick saccade to see the fifth. But there’s no time! I should be trying to get more of them into my visual field so I can capture them at once.
As far as actual reading is concerned, my new year’s resolution has been to try do more bar reading. It’s a crucial exercise for getting over the residual Convergence Insufficiency and improve fine eye motor skills and ultimately reading skills. I’m putting in the time and the work. Results will follow. All these basic vision skills I’ve been working on for so long are coming together. I’m excited to be so close to improved reading.
In summer, when cars are being punished by extreme temperatures you can see the heat waves bouncing off their roofs. It seems that’s a pretty common perception so I will use it to explain the feeling. This time of year it seems unlikely that heat has anything to do with it though. During recent weeks I had a couple of moments of ‘soupy air’. It’s hard to describe but it’s like those heat waves are bouncing off of people or things for brief moments. Something that seems to trigger it are stripes. Striped shirts, floor radiators and even train tracks… Maybe it’s just a coincidence and the lines have nothing to do with it. But that must be one huge coincidence then. I don’t know what to make of it… Glimpses of depth? Palpable space? Perhaps.