New concept of the day (link)

New concept of the day (link)

Coincidentally introduced to me by someone talking about her vision problems. I definitely don’t have what she has, but…


Another characteristic [of cortical visual impairment] is absence of a visually directed reach. So I talked about there’s this dorsal visual stream and this ventral visual stream. The ability to look and reach as a single action is often dependent upon the integration of those two streams. And what often happens for children with CVI is you see a behavior in which they look toward a target, literally look away and then reach without looking.

Yeah, I do that sometimes. Not a lot, and I don’t have to do it, my hand-eye coordination is fine, but to me it feels like a shortcut. Like “I don’t have to really look at it, that’s too much trouble, this is easier.”

It’s really nice to know that the way I experience things meshes with how scientists think they work.

Short form of what’s at the Wikipedia link in the title: visual information from your eyes gets sent to multiple separate areas of the brain, which do different things with it. Mainly, perception of what things are, and the details of how they look (the “ventral stream” of information, they call it), is separate from perception of where things are, how they’re moving, and hand-eye coordination (the “dorsal stream”).

So, remember this? What I was talking about there can be framed as me using the “dorsal” processes and not the “ventral” ones. I actually do this in lots of situations, I think, but they’re not all easy to describe.

I can walk through a crowded place without bumping into anyone, but have no memory of what anyone in the crowd looked like, even immediately afterward. Obviously I see them, all that information does get into my eyes, but I only use it to see where they are. I don’t pay attention to what they look like. It isn’t a conscious choice not to pay attention; I’d have to make a conscious choice to pay attention to what they look like.



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