|MadSci Network: Neuroscience|
Hey John, Interesting question. Our brains are surprisingly trainable when it comes to perceptions. But as far as being able to recognize a blind spot consciously, I think that would be a bit difficult to do. The first problem is that you only have a blind spot when you close one eye. When both eyes are open, your right eye can see the place where you have the blind spot in your left eye, and vice versa. Now, if you close one eye, you'll be able to appreciate your blind spot. However, your brain is wired to "fill in" your blind spot with the same color as whatever object is surrounding it, which is pretty amazing. So, when you do the old blind spot trick by making an X disappear on a sheet of paper, the place where the X was becomes pure white. But you can't make actually make it appear black. Your brain will fill in what it thinks is appropriate. If you practice and find where your blind spot is, however, you'll soon be able to put things in it make them "disappear." As far as training a baby not to have its brain reverse and flip images, let's do a little background stuff first. An image is reversed and flipped as it passes through the optics of the eye. The brain then has to reverse and flip it back to normal. You could try to train a baby's brain to not reverse and flip images, but the training wouldn't last very long. Experiments have been done in which people wear special glasses that make the world appear upside down and backward. What happens? Well, at first the people fall down, bump into things, etc, In a few days, though, everything seems perfectly normal. Their brains have learned to double-reverse and double-flip everything they see from the eyes. Nifty, eh? When you take the glasses off, the people bump into things and fall down again for a few days while their brains get used to working in the normal way. They definitely go back to normal, though. So, you can train your brain to do a lot of things. But in the end, your brain will put together the info it gets from your eyes with the info it gets from all your other senses and puts things back where they belong. Hope that answers your question! Tom
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