Take a look at the two rubic cubes below. Did you realize the red pieces of the left block are actually orange? But when moving to the right block they are actually purple.
But why do our brains all interpret them as the same red color? The problem turned out to be in the light hitting it. Your brain knows to cancel the yellow light in the left image that is covering the frame to return the true color to the red puzzle pieces. Similarly, it suppresses the blue light in the right image to make the purple color disappear.
This is a prime example of a phenomenon known as “trigonometric constant“, in which your brain is capable of recognizing the same object in different environments and under different lighting conditions.
Although it has fooled us into a harmless illusion, the perceptual constant is actually a gift of nature. Just imagine what would happen if our ancestors weren’t able to do that.
A man will not recognize a member of his own tribe just because he is darker under a tree or hidden by a cloud. When he returns home to face the flames in the dark cave, the man is immediately seen as a trespasser and has no idea what will happen next.
But maybe not after that. Humans would be extinct without it “value constantc.” The ability to identify objects regardless of the environment must be part of our species’ survival toolkit.
Our vision begins to be easily deceived from the age of 5 months
But it is a fact that the perceptual constant is not quite an innate human ability, or perhaps only half of it. Babies under 8 months of age are considered underdeveloped “perceptual constant“, so it may not recognize its own father as long as he shaves.
Take a look at the image below. If you had to choose a snail that is the most different from the other two, which one would you choose?
Most adults will choose the C snail because it looks the darkest. But research shows that babies will choose snail A. In fact, that’s correct because snail B and snail C have the same pixel intensity – or more pixels. For babies, it’s the feature they use to distinguish objects.
In a study published in the journal Current Biology, a team of psychologists led by Jiale Yang at Chuo University in Japan made this discovery when conducting an experiment with 42 infants. 3 to 8 months old.
Yang showed the children a series of pairs of photos from real objects to 3D objects. Because infants could not describe what they saw, the team measured the time the babies spent looking at each image.
Previous research has shown that babies look at new objects longer than they do with familiar objects. This means that based on a child’s attention span, scientists can tell when a child perceives two images as different or similar.
If the child spends less time looking at the second image than the first, it indicates that the child is bored because of the similarity between them. But if the child looks at the second image for the same amount of time as he spent on the first image, this proves the two images are different.
Experimental results show that babies from 3-4 months old are able to distinguish images with differences in detail without being deceived by light. For example, in this image, adults may think square A is brighter than square B, but they are actually the same color and grayscale.
The effect caused by the object’s shadow makes square B appear darker. But a 3-4 month old baby is not fooled by that.
Unfortunately, this superpower will disappear when the child is 5 months old.
The price of the trade-off
Continuing the new tests, the scientists found that at around 7-8 months of age, babies begin to pay attention to surface features such as gloss or roughness of an object, ignoring the difference between pixels and pixels. image pixels.
Scientists call this shift the process of cognitive shrinking, in which attention is focused on salient aspects of an object rather than all the other detailed differences.
It is also associated with an effect known as “obscure view”. In particular, children aged 7-8 months and older often pay more attention to stimuli that appear later in their vision even if these stimuli do not obscure or overlap the previous image.
For example, in a new experiment also conducted by Chuo University, scientists found that 3-4-year-olds were not affected by the dots or circles appearing around a human face, while the The adult’s attention will be drawn to it:
This may be the result of the development of “trigonometric constant”, when 7-8 months old babies have learned to evaluate environmental parameters and treat previous stimuli as a constant, they will no longer keep their focus on it.
Regrettably, that’s also when children lose their ability to spot the detailed differences of objects and begin to be fooled by visual illusions.
“This seems counterintuitive“, said Professor Masami Yamaguchi, the new study author at Chuo University. But it is clear that the price paid by the children is greater.
“Triangle constant” It’s what we need to grow up and adjust to our perceptions in complex environments – not figuring out which snail is more similar or two squares in a picture that actually have the same thing. color.
Refer to Scientificamerican, Medicalxpress