I can SEE, but what do I SEE?

Posted by Brenda Yoho

A picture is placed in front of you. What do you see?

What do you see in this picture?

Courtesy of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

It is an optical illusion that plays tricks on your vision. Our brain receives clues about the picture we see. The messages include depth, shading, lighting, and position to help interpret what we see. Does it stop with just these clues?

“It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality,” says neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh, a research professor at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow at Glendon College in Canada. We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.” https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/20978285/optical-illusion-science-humility-reality-polarization

“Most of the time, the story our brains generate matches the real, physical world — but not always. Our brains also unconsciously bend our perception of reality to meet our desires or expectations. And they fill in gaps using our past experiences.

All of this can bias us. Visual illusions present clear and interesting challenges for how we live: How do we know what’s real? And once we know the extent of our brain’s limits, how do we live with more humility — and think with greater care about our perceptions?” https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/20978285/optical-illusion-science-humility-reality-polarization

Horse or seal? Which do you see? Can you see both? The study was completed with a test group; they gave points for seeing farm animals and took points away for seeing sea animals. They were seeing if this would influence outcomes by providing an incentive. It is included in the article link.

The bottom line is, we see what we want to see. Our life experiences have a role in our vision and biases. These can cloud or enhance our vision based on our approach to situations. My parents did not have a chance to attend school and were uneducated. I am biased in making sure All children have opportunities to attend school and receive an education.

I can recall several times in my lifetime where I have seen racism used against others and then used to attack me unjustly. A positive solution was reached in all cases, but I know not all situations work out this way. This is troubling to me. In one situation that I can reflect on today was a case of intimidation. I was notified that a relative of a student I had disciplined would be flying in from Washington, D.C., to talk to the Superintendent and myself. He was a lawyer and believed my discipline was based on racism due to my skin color and his nephews.

The meeting was scheduled, and everyone was present, including my student, Joe. I never like to hold conferences without students if they are the topic of conversation.

“It seems Mrs. Yoho, after I investigated you, I have discovered a great deal of information as I talked with the community.”

“Well, I did not know I was being investigated, but I will be happy to hear what you have discovered.”

“It seems you are involved with the community; I found that no one thinks you are a racist, and I spoke to a gentleman named Tim Blank who said he worked with you for years and you treat everyone the same with high standards.”

“Glad to hear all of that information, but I think Joe could have told you himself all of that information. My focus is on Joe. Joe, please tell your uncle how it works at SVMS.”

“There are two rules. Everyone who walks through the doors will feel good about being there and will feel safe. So we can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution; the choice is ours to make. If we are part of the problem, the solution is in the handbook. We find which rule we broke, feel good or feel safe.”

“It works well for us if we stop and think about these two rules and then focus on being part of the solution. We can work on a plan together to help Joe.”

Thankful we could “see” things together to develop a plan. It is my hope we can continue to look at solutions without biases. Focusing on a problem, then sidetracking by creating additional problems, never provide a solution for our original issue.

Vision is a complex system in our brain. When we see with our eyes, we are very hesitant to believe something different even when told it was wrong. Magicians are so fascinating to many of us for all of their illusions!

Today's blog post is not to tell you not to believe in the reality you see, but to be open to listening to the other views. Politicians are masterful in creating illusions for us to see to capture the vote. It is always up to the person casting a vote to see through the tricks and optical illusions to get what is best.

Right now, I believe we have several systems in need of repair as vision problems are occurring. Work together to repair the vision so everyone can “see” focusing on a problem by creating more problems is not the solution for better vision.



  • Meet with your team, test their vision
    • What do we see as our priority?
    • What is one thing we can improve today to help everyone feel good and safe about being here?
    • One word to describe us____________.
  • Develop a vision board
    • In a safe place, post a Vision Board with the following ideas of things people can post.
      • 20/20 Vision-Ideas to keep us focused
      • Picture perfect vision-random pictures of staff working on positive vision work.
      • Great insight!-Positive messages.
      • Eye know we can see clearly with___________.
  • Organize special teams
    • Visitor Team- welcoming in others to, learn and observe our Vision approach.
    • Innovation Team-creating new ideas to keep our vision alive and moving forward.
    • Skill Team-maintaining skill development and training to facilitate our goals. Keeping new staff informed and increasing our capacity.
    • Inspiration Team-keeping up the motivation of all teams by providing celebration, incentives and daily goals.
    • Open Communications Team-organizing communications chains to ensure all voices are heard and informed.
    • Navigation Team-keeping a GPS of our goals and roadmap for our vision.
"I only have 2 rules!"
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