What You See ...

… is what you get, right? At least that’s what Flip Wilson’s Geraldine character used to tell us. (If you are old enough to remember Flip Wilson, I’m sure that made you smile. You’re welcome.)

As it turns out, it’s more like, “What you want is what you see.” For example, take a look at the photo of the eye at the top of this article. See it? Oh, wait a minute! That’s not an eye. That’s sudsy water swirling around a drain. You would have sworn that was a picture of a human eye, right? Why?

Pareidolia, that’s why. What is pareidolia, you might ask? Besides being a fiendishly difficult word to spell and pronounce, pareidolia is the name of a psychological phenomenon that causes humans to see faces and other human-y things in objects and scenery that are distinctly human-free. We do it all the time. How many times, as a little kid, did you lie on your back and stare at the clouds, picking out faces, hands, legs, and even images of whole people floating through the sky? We call pansies “monkey faces”. We see a “man” in the moon. We look at electrical outlets like they are miniscule, mildly astonished imps. No? You don’t do that? You will now.

Sometimes, we get fanatical about our encounters with pareidolia. Remember the “Face on Mars”? Remember the oily stain on an office building in Florida that was supposed to be the Virgin Mary? Humans seem to be programmed to find the familiar. Brain scans confirm that our gray matter lights up vigorously whenever it thinks it has spotted something familiar, particularly a human face. What’s behind this? Necessity, that’s what.

It turns out that vision is an incredibly complex thing. First, you have your eyes. They collect data in the form of light as it falls on your retina. Retinal cells get stimulated and generate bio-electrical impulses that speed along your optic nerve, screaming at the speed of light to the vision center at the back of your brain. There, the data must be sorted out. The image that struck your retinas is stereoscopic and upside down. There are two images to invert and stitch together. There are colors to sort out and noise (like the image of your nose) that gets edited out. Seriously, deliberately look at your nose right now. It’s there. Why doesn’t it get in the way when you’re reading or driving? Your trusty brain just erases it from the video feed, that’s why. It does that while simultaneously putting two separate images (assuming you have two working eyes) into one continuous picture that has no double-vision artifacts to distract or endanger you. It’s truly remarkable–and it’s a ton of work.

Luckily for us, the brain has some tricks up its sleeve. Primarily, it has experience. Subconsciously, you know what you are likely to see when you conduct common, everyday activities. You get up in the morning. Your spouse greets you with a familiar face. Your dog whines to be taken out. Your cat begs for her food bowl to be filled. Your kids scramble around and scurry out for school. You hop in your car. The road is lined with familiar landmarks. You arrive at work or school or wherever you while away your days. There are people there. They greet you and interact with you throughout the day. You do your job. It all makes sense to you and you know what is going on around you. It’s familiar. You learn to expect what you will probably see.

The brain takes advantage of all of that. It doesn’t have to process every tiny thing you see because a whole bunch of it is stored away in memory. Those visual memories can just be patched into your field of view in low resolution, never having to go through all of the extensive process that is “seeing”.

I know that's hard to believe, but it’s true. You can find articles all over the internet describing experiments conducted to prove that your brain is cheating all the time. It has to. There’s too much to process. That’s why, if you really notice, you will detect that scenery outside of the very center of your gaze is lacking in detail, and much more blurry than anything at the center of your vision. That’s the old brain, cheating again. It focuses on what is important. The fact that it is designed in such a way to do that boggles the rest of my mind–all while my brain chugs along, processing input from my eyes, and making me see Curious George in a Cheeto.

This article was written by Tilmer Wright, Jr. Tilmer is an IT professional with over thirty years of experience wrestling with technology and a proud member of the Authors Guild of Tennessee. In his spare time, he writes books.

You can find links to Tilmer’s books at the following location: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3ATilmer+Wright+Jr&s=relev...

His author information web site is here: http://www.tilmerwrightjr.com/

Comments

Susan Kite's picture

Tilmer, if you see Curious George in a Cheeto, you better toss the Cheeto! Ha! Ha! Seriously, as all the others, this was a great article and very informative! Thanks!

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Photographed by Shannon DeWitt, UT Extension Agent Union County

Written by: Natalie Bumgarner and Anthony Carver, University of Tennessee Extension Agents
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Putting Tennessee Goodness in a Jar

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Scavenger Hunt

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Plantastic!

Lovely summer potatoes. Pictures courtesy of Pixabay.

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When my dad was stationed in Germany for two years, we always made a trip to the Netherlands in the spring. We visited fields of tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils. They were absolutely gorgeous. When we returned to the states and Dad retired, he had multiple orders of bulbs waiting for him in Utah.

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I did it!

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I still have the first dictionary I ever owned. Ms. Wanza Sharp gave it to me in fourth grade. It was missing both front and back covers, and the first and last few pages were missing. I still have it safely tucked away in my home library archives. The dictionary is precious because it was one of the first books I ever owned, and Ms. Wanza, one of my all-time heroes both in and out of the classroom, gave it to me. Also, I spent many a day playing school with that wonderful volume.

ST. Patrick's Day Long Ago

My father kept postcards from his childhood. I found them after he passed away. I never knew they existed until then. He was born in 1899 in Sandstone
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Molded Lemon - Beet Salad

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Melissa Stevens: The Illustrated Author

Melissa Stevens

In the literary world, a catchy title or risqué focus may draw the eye of an interested reader, but have you ever thought about how influenced one may be by elegantly designed book cover art? Melissa Stevens saw the need for such involved illustrations in forums in the mid-2000s.

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Scouting Scholarship Fundraiser

The fundraising event was kicked off at 11:30 with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout Oath, and the Scout Law; led by Webelo Caleb Demetroff and Den Chief Tristin Luebke pictured above.

The Boy Scouts of America has been teaching patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues to America’s youth for more than 100 years. It is an organization that children have been proud and happy to join for generations. Believing that scouting is a tradition worth supporting, local Cub Scout Pack 401 is raising money to build a scholarship fund to ensure no child is excluded from scouting due to the family’s inability to pay. This is a new project for the Pack to address a new need.

March is Extension Month

FCS/4-H Extension Agent Alyshia Victoria, Extension Program Assistant Beth Bergeron, 2019 Extension Intern Allison Rison, Ag/4-H Extension Agent & County Director Shannon DeWitt, UT Extension Eastern Region David Yates, Extension Administrative Assistant Ashley Mike and Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Skibinski

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.
Extension Month:

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Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. The benefits of correct posture are as follows:

• Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.

• Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.

Pioneers and Butterflies

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When I was still living at home, our water heater went out. Before it was repaired, my mother ran water in the tub and then marched into the kitchen. “I’m going to take a bath like the pioneers did.” She politely ran water in a large bowl and stuck it in the microwave. “I’m gonna pour hot water in the tub.”

Aging and Lent

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The CCC In Union County Part 7

Continuing from "From Hearth And Hoe": " In October, 1935, TVA Camps 7, 13, 16, 19, and 22, for example, were engaged in soil erosion projects and special work on TVA lands. Three 110-foot steel fire towers were erected. Camp TVA-13 constructed a stone masonry fish dam on Stiner Branch. The dam, 30 feet high and 145 feet long, created a lake used by TVA's Fish and Game division to raise fish. Camp TVA-16, consisting of about 206 young men, mostly from East Tennessee, was organized at Sharp's Chapel on August 15, 1935.

Obituary

Lucille Cate Loop

Lucille Cate Loop-age 88 of Corryton went home to be with her Lord Tuesday, April 7, 2020. She was a member of Atkins Baptist Church. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. Preceded in death by her devoted and loving husband of 62 years, Earl Loop; grandson, Shane Smith; grandmother, “Momma” Maggie Underwood; parents, Authur and Dela Mae Woolard Cate; brothers, Paul, Roy, Harold, D. F., Cecil and J. L. Cate; sister, Trula Ann Cate.

Paris C. Keck

Paris C. Keck-age 62 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord Friday, April 3, 2020 at his home. He was saved at Mount Olive Baptist Church. He was a jack of all trades and currently an employee of Williams Tractors, Maynardville. Paris was a gentle soul, Kind-hearted and loved by all who knew him. Preceded in death by father, W. T. Keck; brother, Danny Keck; sisters, Lisa Sweet and Tina Smith.

J. C. Cox

Jesse Clive “J. C.” Cox-age 75 of Sharps Chapel passed away peacefully Friday, April 3, 2020 at his home in Maynardville. He enjoyed gardening, building furniture and spending time with his family. He is preceded in death by son, Anthony Dale Cox; parents, Sillis and Ollie Cox; four brothers, three sisters.

Corporal Tyler Dwight Beeler, U. S. Marines

Corporal Tyler Dwight Beeler (U. S. Marine Corps)-age 24 of Washburn and Oak Ridge, born August 8, 1995 passed away suddenly Sunday, March 22, 2020 in Beaufort, South Carolina where he was stationed with the Marine Corps. He had professed faith in Jesus Christ. Tyler was former employee of Lowes Home Improvement, Knoxville and was a graduate of Washburn High School, class of 2014. Throughout Corporal Beeler’s Marine career, he was stationed at many locations around the world; including Japan, Thailand, Norway as well as the U. S.

Floyd Earl Ridenour

Floyd Earl Ridenour-age 75 of Maynardville passed away Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at his home. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and retired from the U. S. Army in 2002 as a Sergeant First Class. He was a Christian and had been baptized. Preceded in death by parents, Plumer and Lydia (Snodderly) Ridenour.

Survivors: wife of 50 years, Jennifer N. (Smith) Ridenour; daughter, Feleica Ridenour; grandson, Zachary Bridges, all of Maynardville; son, Jeff Ridenour of Knoxville; brother, John Paul Ridenour of Halls; sister, Wanda Faye Bruner of Maynardville. Several nieces and nephews.

Sharon Dykes

Sharon Ann Dykes – 68 of Sharps Chapel, went home to be with the Lord Tuesday, March 31, 2020. She was a member of Blue Springs Baptist Church. Sharon loved to quilt and make handmade crafts.

She is preceded in death by her father, Herbert Lynch and niece, Marnie Graham. Sharon is survived by her husband, Warren Dykes; children, Todd (Rená) and Trevor Dykes; mother, Velma Lynch; sister, Kay (A. C.) Tolliver; and mother-in-law, Maggie Dykes.

Evaline Jessee

Evaline J. Jessee, age 86 of Morning Pointe in Tullahoma and formerly of Union County, Tennessee passed away on Tuesday March 31, 2020 at Tennova Healthcare - Harton in Tullahoma. Mrs. Jessee was born on September 19, 1933 in Hawkins County, Tennessee to the late Daniel Craft and Elsie Barrett Jeter. She was a University of Tennessee graduate with a Bachelors degree in Home Economics, and worked as a third grade teacher at Maynardville Elementary for over 30 years. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and the Union County Retired Teachers.

Ginger Juanita (Johnson) Bailey

Ginger Juanita (Johnson) Bailey-age 68 of LaFollette passed away suddenly Monday, March 30, 2020 at her home. She was a retired employee of Davidson County Sheriff’s Department. Preceded in death by parents, Lewis and Nita Johnson; sister, Connie Cassiano.

Survivors: daughter, Tiffany Fox and husband, David of Clinton; grandson, Drew Fox and wife, Jessie of Cleveland, TN, great-granddaughter, Brelynn Fox; granddaughter, Grace Fox of Clinton; brothers, Larry and Tommy Johnson, both of Nashville.

Tamera Jean Raley

Tamera Jean Raley-age 59 of Maynardville, born July 4th 1960 passed away Sunday evening March 29th 2020. She is survived by her Mother-Shirley Raley, Daughter- Ashley Harmon, Granddaughter -Delia Lane Harmon, Sister -Debra Tharp, Brother-Daniel Raley,

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.