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Mind Matches Patterns

 

Explanations > Perception > Visual Perception > Mind Matches Patterns

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

When we are working out what we are perceiving, having identified a discernable shape, we look constantly for patterns that match an internal 'library' of patterns that we already know.

When we fit the shape to a known pattern, we have two choices. First, we can assume that the perceived shape matches the pattern well and we do not need to seek further information. Also, we can be suspicious of our initial interpretation and consequently keep looking for further patterning by which we can confirm our initial assessment or add further detail.

Example

I am walking down the street and see a shape that I quickly identify as human. I look further and recognize a friend.

A person sees the shapes of trees in a photograph and enjoys a natural scene as one of pleasant beauty. If the person is a naturalist, they may look more closely to identify what type of tree they are seeing. Overall tree and individual leaf shape are taken into account.

Discussion

An enormous benefit of pattern-matching is that it saves time. Instead of looking for every detail, we can decide that a rough pattern-match is sufficient for our purpose, which is often based such as threat assessment or whether we will need to interact with the perceived object in some way, such as simply avoiding it or using it for some benefit.

So what?

If you want to make something recognizable, present familiar patterns. Silhouettes may be used to limit further thinking. Hierarchical detail may be used to sustain attention to something important.

See also

Mind Seeks Shape

 

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