Amy Chen, Believing is seeing, C7

Good evening, fellow toastmasters, today I am going to talk about…Hey! What’s wrong with my title! (Make a fillip) Yeah, my topic today is, believing is seeing, which means what you see are decided by what you believe, or to say it more precisely, by what your brain believes. Doesn’t it sound weird? Let’s do an experiment to show it together.
If the year of your birthday is an odd number, you are team no.1, otherwise you are team no.2. Ok, now, everybody please close your eyes. When I call your team number, please open your eyes quietly and think what the thing I show you is. Ok? Now, team number 1, please. (five seconds) ok, close your eyes. Team number 2, please.(five seconds) ok, close your eyes. Now, everybody, open your eyes please. What do you see on the screen now? a man? or a rat? If you belong to team number 1, you may see a rat. But if you are team number 2, you may probably see a man. It is because the pictures I just show you are different, and the last picture is their combination. So you will consider the last picture is more like the one you saw previously. This is an example to prove that what you see is really decided by what you believe.
But how does it happen? Actually, what we see comes from a very complex process called visual processing and the process can be divided into three phases. The first phase is stimulus. It refers that something is reflecting light onto your eyes and form an image on your retina. Then, the next phase is signal transmission phase. In this phase, light will be transduced to electricity signals by receptors on your retina, and then these electricity signals will be transmitted from retina to your brain. Finally, the last phase happens in your brain, which is the most crucial part of the three. Our brains will decide how to interpret these signals, and the result will be what we see eventually. In this phase, knowledge and experience stored in our brains will influence the result, just like we human-beings often interpret things by what we already know.
To explain it more clearly, let’s go back to our previous experiment. In the experiment, the first picture you saw made your brain know there is something looked like a man or a rat. This information became experience and knowledge in your brain and then affected you when you saw the second picture. That’s why I said what your brain believes can decide what you see.
I know it sounds a little bit complicated, but have you ever thought that even though the visual processing is pretty complex, it never bothers us! Why? Because our body and brain have done the whole procedure for us automatically! Just like a great machine never need users to control the details and make users feel how complex it is. What a marvelous creature we human-beings are!
What’s more, after the visual processing was known by scientists, computer scientists and psychologists try very hard to design machines to imitate such mechanisms of human-beings, but until this moment, they haven’t been successful yet. This shows how precious and unique we human-beings are! So next time, when you see a thing and think it looks like something. Please recall my slogan, “believing is seeing”, and cherish the ability we have and feel grateful for your brain.
Hey, there is a beautiful long-hair girl! Let me ask her to join NTU Toastmaster! (Run, next page) Oops, I forget believing is seeing.
Toastmasters of the evening.

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