As I get the hang of this blogging thing, I realise there’s all sorts of things I talk about that I’m not blogging. Brain function is one of my so-far-unblogged obsessions, and there’s all sorts of fascinating experiments that prove scary things about our brains. For example, the one that shows that women prefer more masculine men when they’re fertile, or the gorilla/basketball experiment, or the sweaty t-shirt experiment (women prefer unrelated men, and can tell by smell). But I won’t bore you with those, because I’m sure you all know about them already (email/comment if I’m wrong, and I’ll write them up).
So, here’s one I read about today that is quite fascinating. You need a body to make your eyes work properly.
Take two kittens. Set up a turntable in an ordinary room and harness one kitten to one side. Put the other in a clear box on the opposite side. The harnessed kitten can wander (OK, only in a circle, but its in charge), whereas the boxed kitten is passively moved, getting the same 3D experience as the harnessed kitten.
Only the harnessed kitten develops depth perception.
Why? Well, the theory is your brain needs the feedback generated by linking what you see with what you’ve told your muscles to do in order to understand what its seeing.
An interesting question: is this vital to learning 3D vision or is it just a deficiency of brains?