Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Noticing things that other don't

Comma with stonesThere was a mention of SPS - sensory processing sensitivity - in this week's New Scientist. Affecting around 20% of the population, SPS increases people's sensitivity to all kinds of sensory stimuli, like music, pain and coffee! One thing struck me, in particular, the impressive aptitude of people with SPS for visual attention, like noticing small differences between photos.

This reminded me of something that has constantly puzzled me when I've examine anomalous photos. In many cases, I simply can't see the anomaly! Sometimes, even when it is pointed out, I STILL can't see it. And the question always runs through my mind, how did the photographer even SEE this anomaly when, to me, it's so unobvious? Now perhaps there may be an answer! Maybe the photographer is affected by SPS.

Interestingly, these difficult-to-see anomalies are almost always photographic artefacts. Where the photographer sees a face or a mysterious figure, I see camera shake, lens flare, image noise and so on. Of course, it could be that I don't see the face or figure because, unconsciously, I'm aware that it's a photographic artefact. Even so, I may just also be lacking the photographer's visual attentiveness.

I wonder if anyone with SPS might think they were psychic? An increased sensitivity to various sensory stimuli might well promote noticing misperceptions. Until I meet some with SPS that idea might be tricky to test!

PS: The photo? I thought I saw a 'face' in it ...

No comments:

Post a Comment