When they say “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder”, apparently they were dot on! Judgments – causal ones – are indeed made only in the eyes. Judgment, say about beauty, wouldn’t even involve the mind!
So, do we even think while making a judgment about someone? This is not a rhetorical or even a philosophical question. Medically, researchers are finding out that at the primary level of judgment no thought is employed. Judgments are only at the level of visual cues. Just looks. That is why probably over the centuries, specially in the modern world, it has been said – that Looks Matter. Yes, they matter in a world where ability to perceive is as shallow as visual impact. Even something as fundamental as thought in terms of common human abilities is not used!
In making judgments about causality, we don’t always need to use cognitive reasoning, researchers have discovered. In some cases, our visual brain—the brain areas that process what the eyes sense—can make these judgments rapidly and automatically.
The study, which appears in Current Biology, “reveals that causality can be computed at an early level in the visual system,” says Martin Rolfs, research fellow in the psychology department.
We frequently make rapid judgments of causality (“The ball knocked the glass off the table”), animacy (“Look out, that thing is alive!”), or intention (“He meant to help her”). These judgments are complex enough that many believe that substantial cognitive reasoning is required—we need our brains to tell us what our eyes have seen.
However, some judgments are so rapid and effortless that they “feel” perceptual—we can make them using only our visual systems, with no thinking required.
That is why these days visual Gurus play with people’s minds. If I can make something look like something else from a person’s background, such that it evokes those feelings, I can elicit a certain response from him. This goes a long way in consumer manipulation.
Featured Image credit: Chris_Samuel
Billiards balls image credit: missy & the universe