Tracy Lannon / Perception

October 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tracy Lannon specialises in the psychology and emotion in design, she will be teaching us the theory, methodology, and application of design in a social context. We will be looking at the consumer society we live in, meaningful visual communication, helping people and improving lives through design, and ultimately designing human experiences.

I am very much looking forward to this series of lectures on psychology, and the implementation of it in the design world, as I have always had an interest in psychology and emotions, and this is a subject I wished I had studied at school, but my interests for this had only developed in the past year.

The title of this lecture was ‘perception’, looking at how our minds are deceived by optical illusions in various ways and forms. For the first lecture of the year this was very enjoyable and informative.


– We’re consumers of everything around us, we’re constantly taking in information, we can’t however absorb it all, as our minds would not be able to comprehend it, it would theoretically make your head explode.

– I must look beyond the design brief, and begin looking at the user.

– Develop the skill of looking at things, so I understand how they really are, not to be confused by the tricks of the mind.

– Perception is more than just seeing, it’s about processing information.

– Past experiences, feelings, memory, emotions, expectations, cultural influences and learn’t experiences all have an impact on what we see.

– People have a narrow minded view of the world because people have habits and expectations, it’ a self fulfilling cycle. This cycle needs to be broken; look from a different perspective, break out of it, this will allow you to embrace an enhanced creative mind.

– Priming: refers to a increased sensitivity to certain stimuli due to prior experience. This is different to memory in that it is believed to occur outside of conscious awareness, whereas memory counts on the direct retrieval of information. The effects of priming can affect the decision making process. PRACTICE PRIMING!

– Expectations, and the way one is treated influences ability and learning, this is known as the ‘halo effect’, examples of this can be seen in education, and products and marketing.

– Don’t pre-judge/assume, look again and look beyond to gain more effective visual designs.

Michael Merzenich studied sensory mapping, explaining how our brain is like a map of our physical body.

– People are able to see in all kinds of ways, but we program ourselves to see in certain ways depending on the person, and their physical attributes e.g. if you have eyes, you’ll recognise objects and things visually, where as if you are blind, you will program yourself to see via the sense of touch. We were told that if a blind person restores their vision, they will often have a hard time distinguishing objects simply by looking at them, as they are not used to this mean of identification, they will know what the object/thing is, but have a hard time stating what it is, until they touch it, as this is how they will be used to identifying stuff.

Below shows a variety of optical illusions we were shown in the lecture:

Colour blindness test – what number is presented?

According to this article, if you see the girl turning clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Stare at the dot in the centre.

What do you see, faces or a vase?

Concentrate on the white dot and watch the others disappear.

Your eyes will have a hard time focusing here.

Are the lines wonky or straight?

How many legs does the elephant have?

A word based mind trick:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.
The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
A mzanig huh?
Some examples of forced perspective
Stare at the dots on Jesus’s face for 30 seconds, then close your eyes.
Images that look like faces:
The figures appear to be different sizes, but are they really?

Count every “F” in the following text:

There is more than 3 =P

How many horses do you see?

There are two faces in this picture:

Believe it or not, square A and square B are the same colour!

These are two optical illusions I find to be peculiar and pretty cool:




‘BLINK’ A Horizon Guide (senses, perception, vision = 0-13.50)

‘Ways of Seeing’ John Berger – Bafta Award Winning series (33mins) 3 of 4

Robert Peston Goes Shopping – ‘Seduction’ from a chore in 50’s to fave pastime of the 80’s (1:4)

Psychology of Human Behaviour 1+2


BBC about upside down goggles (4:27)

ECHOLATION: Blind clicking – Daniel Kish….UTUBE

iPhone 5: Super Glued to Ground in Amsterdam (Leidseplein) (2:31)



‘Extended Mind’ Consciousness Controversy (More than the sum of its parts) – Richard Sheldrake

Psi phenomena mind matter interactions

Vision: Being stared at

Social animals: flock of starlings/ fish/ MRI scan

Animations: Boyles field Phenomena




Recent Experimental evidence on the presumptions of awareness and nature of reality disputes scientific mechanistic dogma


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