We see what we want to see

A brain is such a smart thing and helps us a lot but sometimes it makes a fool of us.

Once I read an interesting article about how brain processes signals it gets from our eyes. The brain is capable of adding missing parts, e.g. of what is at our sides when we look ahead, based on what we saw earlier and thus helps us quickly orientate ourselves. It is definitely useful but sometimes it may also be somewhat confusing because the calculated vision may not correspond entirely with reality.

In July my family and I spent a few days in Italy and one of the places we visited was a marble quarry at Fantiscritti. I love taking photos of machines of all kinds so when I discovered the shovel loader below, I was happy to create that photo.

I also took one more detailed…

And then at home, when I was proudly showing the photos to my hubby, he told me, “Oh, look, that loader doesn’t have a front tyre!”

Would you believe I hadn’t noticed that before?? Not during framing the scene in my camera, not during the exposure, not when checking the capture at the screen of the camera, not even when watching a much larger picture on my computer screen. My hubby told me he hadn’t noticed the missing tyre either at first but his attention was caught by those pieces of wood supporting the machine. Why are they there? Well, the answer was easy to find…

So why, when I am usually so perceptive when it comes to details, I absolutely ignored such an obvious fact? I can’t believe it myself now. I would explain it as a perfect example of how my brain worked. It got the information of seeing a shovel loader that I loved and the prominent yellow colour in contrast to the blue sky and white marble, and the impression overcame the details. As the details were not important for the impression, my brain might not have evaluated that I should know about them. I already saw what I wanted to see!

I believe that we all would find in our experience many examples of such a case but this glaring example dumbfounded me. Beware my brain, I’ll watch your activity more carefully now!