Identify what is in the below three pictures. Answer
one picture at a time by saying aloud or to yourself the answer.
The images are not visual or optical illusions or tricks,
and were picked because of their straight foreward subjects.
I am just looking for a quick objective identification of each.
If your answers were 'George Washington crossing the Deleware,'
'bald eagle' and 'watch,' you were not objective in your identification.
Your identificaion was based in part on value judgment, aesthtics
and bias. In the picture with the bald eagle, there is much more
in the image-- sky, stump, trees-- but you picked out one thing
as the identity. Part of this is due to a value judgment that
a bald eagle is more important than other objects. Another reason
is because the eagle is pictured large and centered. If the picture
showed a tree closeup and clear and with the eagle flying in
the background, you may have identified it as a tree. Your aesthetic
view of arrangment and size effects your identification.
Similarly, if you said the second image showed a watch, you
made a value judgment ("a watch must be the focus of the
image as it's jewelry"). You were influenced by the arrangement
and focus of the image. It was your opinion that in focus was
more important than out of focus.
In the first image there are quite a few men, but you singled
out one. This is part as you place higher value on George Washington
and as he is the only one you know by name. This shows that humans
place greater value on what they know and can dismiss what is
unknown. If you had said "This pictures a bunch of guys,
one whose name is George Washington" you would have had
answer the better identified the image while expressing your
limited knowledge. You did not identify the image as 'sky and
ice,' even though sky and ice takes up more space than the men,
boat and flag. This was your value judgment.
The initial question asked for an objective identification,
but your answers were subjective. I didn't ask for your opinion
as to whether George Washington was more important than ice,
or a whether you thought a bald eagle is more significant than
out of focus background trees.
This type of subjective 'objective' identification is common
From a practical standpoint, this type of subjective categorizing
and prioritizing is important. Quick interpretations of scenes,
including judging what is significant and what is not, is essential
to getting through life. You wouldn't have lasted long if you
placed equal visual significance on a small crack on the pavement
and a car speeding in your path. Instant ordering and prioritizing
is an integral part all conscious mental tasks, from performing
mathematics to reading to bidding in an online auction. However,
as with many useful ways of thinking, it hinders objective understanding.
(c) david rudd cycleback, cyclback.com
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