Category Archives for The Almost Daily Catalyst

Depends On Who You Ask

Today is the last day of our week-long foray into perception research and optical illusions!

I hope you enjoyed it- we all need a distraction right now! I LOVED hearing from you this week! Here are some things I heard:

  • The girl I can get to go back and forth by willing the foot back and forth. Have no idea how it works since the head also shifts with each way it turns. My answer is sorcery. It is sorcery. lol Will have to keep working on the dress. 🙂
  • Your daily catalyst today was wild!!! I was so solidly in the gold and could not stop trying until the FaceTime call with a patient. When the call was over I still had your post open on the screen and the thing was blue and black. Unbelievable.
  • IT’S YANNY. YANNY I TELL YOU! I can’t find Darth Vader.
  • I am trying to keep a positive perspective on this whole pandemic. These visual examples are a fun reminder of that!

It has been a fun reminder for me, too.

Perception research is “basic” research in cognitive psychology, meaning it isolates a single piece of the human experience and tries to figure it out without all the chaos that comes along with looking at a human in context. That kind of “messy” research is called “Applied Cognitive Psychology.”

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Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight

In our last we talked about the key to hearing Laurel and Yanny is to understand that both are there, but one is the “figure” and the other is the “ground.” I put quotes around them because they are visual terms and I don’t know their auditory equivalents. But today we are looking at the real thing!

One of my favorite optical illusions are figure/ground, or white space illusions. Here’s my absolute favorite of these- to my eye it is absolutely beautiful.

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Did you hear that

Did You Hear That?

Almost two years ago today (May, 2018) we learned that it was not only our eyesight that would betray us, but also our ears! An audio clip was making the rounds on the internet and people were utterly perplexed. Do you hear Laurel or Yanny?

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how do you see that

How Can You See That?

“That dress is BLUE!” – 50% of people before the internet imploded

On February 15, 2015 something terrible happened. Half of the world’s population spontaneously decided that the other half of the world’s population had categorically lost its mind.

“Do you believe that she thinks that dress is gold and white? HA HA!” You said to a room of people you trust… but only some of them were nodding. Some of your very own friends, family and close-knit work crew were looking at you like you had somehow lost YOUR mind!

Brother against brother! Cubenate against cubemate!

It took the internet almost 3 full minutes to recognize that a perceptual battle royale was underway and turn it into a viral phenomenon bestowed with the internet’s biggest honor: people said it “broke the internet.”

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reality is an illusion

Reality Is An Illusion

Things are not what they seem.

Though our survival depends upon our fellow humans perceiving the same reality as our own, the very assumptions of a consensus reality are:

reality is an illusion

Every aspect of the world in which we live, every* objectively true fact upon which we build our lives is, in fact, constructed. Everything is first perceived by your senses, then interpreted by your brain.

Perceived by your senses

Look at this!

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feeling fine

I’m Fine. Are You Fine? We’re Fine.

Captains log. Day 35 in Quarantine. Things are fine.

This week was Spring Beak for the kids. It was supposed to be spring break for me, too, and we were going to do lots of fun things… but my end of year calendar got “recalibrated.” It’s fine.

We have figured out how to split the day so that it’s irritating for all of us, but doesn’t impede anyone’s ability to not get fired. So that’s fine, too.

We’ve taken to eating the same six “kid approved” things every day. Somehow I’ve still said “Eat your breakfast/lunch/dinner” at least 100 times yesterday… and for the past 34 days… which means I’ve said it 3500 times since we came inside. But we aren’t hungry and the supply chain is strong so we aren’t likely to be… so that’s fine.

It’s all fine.

No, really, it’s truly fine. Fine, fine, fine.

Two things to watch out for as we enter “The Grind”

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how to stay motivated and not give up

It Works Even When You Are Bad at It

A few years ago I did a half marathon for the first (and last) time. I did it with friends and we would meet on Saturdays and do the “long run” together. In between we were charged with the “short” runs, stretching and strength training that the internet said we needed to do in order to prepare our bodies for the eventual 2.5 hour run (I’m what you would call a tortoise, not a hare) on race day.

The problem was… I didn’t really feel like it. I wasn’t feeling very motivated. Week after week I would show up at the long run having done one short run in between and a few of those weeks I hadn’t actually done ANY runs in between. And yet… somehow, even with terrible execution and a ton of novice mistakes I did prepare for and run a half marathon.

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escape from stress

Escape

There are times when you are walking down the road of life, whistling your tune, thinking your whatever thoughts and then… snagged! A vine of worry sneaks out from the forest and wraps it’s thin fingers around your foot.  It whispers your name creepily. And you feel yourself suddenly, and without any real reason, caught up in the emotional field of worry. Nothing has changed except that maybe you’re tired? Maybe you ate too much sugar? Who knows why? It almost doesn’t matter.

This happens to me almost once a day. Sometimes it grabs me just a little and I’m able to shake it off easily, and probably once a week it grabs me big time and I have to launch a counter-attack to get myself free.

Here are my tools for escape, I hope they are useful to you!

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I agree with me

We Don’t Have to Agree About Me

In my 40s (I’m 42, thanks for asking) I woke up to a story I was telling myself that was causing me a lot of drama.The mindset goes something like this “We need to agree about me.” Or, loosely translated, “You need to believe about me what I believe about me, or I’m not going to be able to believe about me what I want to believe about me.”

Here are a few everyday examples.

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the story of your life

The Stories of Our Lives

There are times in our lives when we barely notice the contours and choices of our lives; they pass around us so smoothly that we think we’ve figured it out. We start to say things like “Well, that’s life” and encourage each other to “accept what is.” We nod along with government policies that codify and regulate “what is,” we take out loans, adopt animals, have children, schedule our lives, buy products, and negotiate our relationship boundaries with the sure knowledge that life “is what it is.”

And there are times in our lives when we simply cannot believe what is happening around us. Everything feels new and unimaginable; sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way, and sometimes in a way that simply feels new.

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