Educators educating Educators

Jul 23

Harvard GSE


Visual teaching points to be mindful of when presenting information to students

Todd Rose: Harvard Gradate School of Education, Mind, Brain, & Education

Big Ideas Relating to Visual Perception: When talking about visual perception, below are some things to consider

Þ Visual perception doesn’t assist in the perception of our world; it dominates the perception of our world

Þ Perception is dynamic and extremely variable

Þ Vision is by far our most dominant sense, taking up half of our brain’s cortical resources

Þ What we see is only what our brain tells us we see, and it is not 100&% accurate.

Þ We don’t see with our eyes; we see with our brains.

Þ The brain takes very limited information and makes meaning of it within a context

Þ The brain is naturally goal directed, it shapes perception, attention, memory

Þ The visual cortex process the thousands of streams of information separately for individual features, the visual field is in its most fragmented state. The brain then reassembles the scattered information

Þ What you see is not 100% acute representation of what is out there. Why? Because our brains insist on helping us create our perceived reality

Þ The brain is far from a camera. It is actively deconstructing the information given to it by the eyes, pushing it through a series of filters, and then reconstructing what it thinks it sees. Or what it thinks you should see

Þ Not only do you perceive things that aren’t there, but also exactly how you construct your false information follows certain rules. Previous information play a role in what the brain allows you to see, and the brain’s assumptions play a vital role.

Þ What does the brain base it guesses? Prior experiences with events in your past.

Þ Competence depends on context and there are tradeoffs in context

Þ Visual perception doesn’t assist in the perception of our world; it dominates the perception of our world

The following videos will reinforce the above concepts

Biological motion:

Blind spot:

Cornsweet illusion:

Curveball illusion:

Importance of luminance and contrast illusion:

Color lags behind luminance:

Cortical blind man avoids obstacles:

McGurk Effect:

Koffka ring:

Raman solves rubix cube:



In case you get bored with the lazy days of summer and want to get a jump preparing for the coming school year, I added to Stuff4Educators a section called How to Study Better based on research from Harvard Medical School that highlights four science-backed ways towards better learning (Hint: drop the highlighter). Additionally, I posted a YouTube video under exercise from the Dana Foundation that won the Northwest Emmy award called Exercise and the Brain that explores the benefits of exercise on the brain and learning. Finally, some books that I have read this past year and found to be stimulating are listed.