Perhaps you have seen that optical illusion that looks like a picture of a woman. When we first look at it, some of us see an old lady. Others see a young woman. A few even see the subtler picture of an elderly man. Once the picture crystalizes for us, it’s hard to see the alternatives. We assume that we are seeing the entire picture, but we realize our mistake when someone points out the other two faces. We then marvel at how difficult it was to see the other faces until they were revealed to us.

This exercise reminds us that we continually filter our surroundings and select what we pay attention to. Our brains only process a portion of our visual environment. Then, we organize and interpret what ...

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