What’s really in the mind’s eye?

With the WGA holding firm, I’ve been able to catch up on a lot of saved episodes, Netflix DVDs and I’ve found other shows to watch, many of which are no longer in circulation. One of those is “Brain Story,” a 6-part documentary produced by the BBC in 2000. I don’t think they ever released it on DVD, so currently the only way to get it is via a friend or the internet. Mind Hacks has an entry with links to obtain it via torrent. Whatever your opinions on getting it that way, it’s an amazing thing to watch. I’ve been watching it pretty casually, sometimes right before bed — or half before bed and the other half sometime the next day. What can I say, BBC documentaries are easy on the mind and easy to fall asleep on. 🙂

The 3rd part, “The Mind’s Eye,” is about the sense of vision and what the brain does with the signals it receives from the eyes. It features, as do the first two episodes, people who have suffered different forms of brain damage and therefore see the world differently. There’s a woman who can no longer see objects in motion, a man that can’t recognize people by their faces, and another that can not look at an object and identify it, yet works out what things are using his memories pre-accident. The way people are presented in the documentary can ride a fine line between science and sideshow, but it was pretty amazing to see that he couldn’t identify an old 45 record by looking at it, but if he closed his eyes and picked it up, his memories immediately enabled him to recognize what it was.

The following clip is about an experiment conducted at Harvard about how much we see that we actually pay attention to and the process of “change blindness”.

If you can get hold of it, and you’re into that sort of science, it’s not a bad way to spend a few hours.

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3 Responses

  1. George says:

    OK, now, this was cool. Thank you!

  2. Carly says:

    😯 That is scary that 75% people don’t notice the change. Wow. Pretty cool clip.

  3. Brian says:

    I’m glad you both liked it. I’ve seen clips and snippets of the documentary on YouTube, but no one’s used Google Video to post the episodes in their entirety. I don’t know how legal that might be, even if it was something already paid for by the people over there. Still, it was fairly easy to come by and the stuff they go over is fascinating.

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