We don't all see objects the same way

We don't all see objects the same way

The ability to see and distinguish objects, perhaps even similar to each other, is not the same for everyone. An apple is an apple, a train, a train, an area full of lights on a satellite image that shows our Earth, probably a city. But we could indeed speak of real perceptive abilities, to identify the marked ability of some to recognize objects. This is argued by psychologists Isabel Gauthier and Jason Chow of Vanderbilt University, psychologists who have tested the phenomenon, as they tell in The Conversation.

There are people who are good at recognizing things is beyond doubt. There are those who are able to identify an aircraft model when it is still far from the runway, or to distinguish plants and flowers only at a first glance. In all this, it is clear, knowledge and experience count, the authors acknowledge. Rather, what remains to be understood is whether there is some sort of talent for recognizing things. If someone is perhaps more inclined than others, not taking it for granted, as a consequence, that we all see the same things and in the same way.

To get to the bottom of the question, the researchers long ago asked more than 200 people to measure themselves with some perceptual tests, with the idea of ​​testing perceptual abilities in the face of things never seen before and on which they therefore had experience. How? For example, by remembering or combining the objects seen, the authors explain. It was 2019 when they published the results of that experiment in Psychological Review, demonstrating the existence of a separate ability to recognize objects, nicknamed the o ability (and in analogy with the g factor when it comes to intelligence). To make you understand the tests used, the researchers also shared a demo (you can find it here) in which you can test yourself: nothing scientifically accurate they want to specify, but it can give you an idea of ​​what we are talking about. In essence, it is a question of seeing things and recognizing similar objects on the basis of what is gradually shown and requested. Test yourself to the sound of cells, airplanes and robots.

Studying all this, recognizing that there are talents on which one cannot intervene, could make sense in order to optimize the available resources: just think, to for example, the authors take as an example to all those works that are based on recognizing objects, from satellite data to medical imaging ones. It is not enough to be intelligent (whatever you mean by this) or trained, Gauthier and Chow invite you to reflect: “The classical notions of intelligence could be just one of the many factors that determine overall capacities. Increased attention to perceptual skills, especially general ones, could help reduce inequalities ”, and overcome any stigma, they conclude.

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