It’s one of the most common complaints about today’s modern world: The information overload.
In an age of ever-changing news and social media, the demands of our attention are overwhelming.
But this isn’t true for the way we perceive it, says Andrew Littman, an assistant professor of psychology at Duke University and one of Google’s top researchers on attention.
People are still not seeing what’s happening in the world the way it’s really happening, he says.
They’re trying to look for an answer, to make sense of it.
Littam’s research into the nature of attention suggests that the brain’s natural tendency to adapt to the demands and expectations of our environment is actually quite powerful.
“We have a very natural capacity to adapt and to adjust,” Littaman says.
The problem, as the old saying goes, is that when you try to adapt you’re not always successful.
But Littmann and his colleagues found that this is actually a very important way to learn about attention.
LITTERMAN: If you can learn to notice that you’re seeing something that you can ignore, you can adapt to it.
If you have an easy time seeing that something’s different from what you normally see, that’s going to help you to see that the information you’re getting isn’t the same as what you usually see.
If the information is the same, then you can make the adjustment.
You can adjust your expectations of what the world is like to be able to focus on the information.
And the more you adjust your beliefs, the better you are at seeing things as they really are.
We don’t have to be a super-special snowflake to adapt.
We just have to get better at recognizing what’s going on, Littmans work has shown.
We tend to perceive things in the same way as they’re seen, he explains.
“If you look at a picture of a dog and the dog is smiling, the dog might look like a happy dog, but if you look in the mirror you’re going to see the dog as sad,” he says, laughing.
“The problem is that we don’t see ourselves in that picture.”
And so, the brain creates a system to make sure that our perceptions of what’s real are accurate.
And Litteman’s research shows that people’s ability to recognize this is related to how much they are attuned to the world around them.
LITTMAN: I find myself seeing things differently in my life.
I think about what I’m seeing, and I try to see it in a way that’s realistic.
If I look at the sun and the moon, I see that they’re really there.
The same goes for the stars, the clouds, the mountains.
I know the colors and the shapes of the world, and that’s what’s really exciting to me.
It’s just the way I see it that’s exciting.
It has nothing to do with what’s in my mind.
So, I try my best to use my eyes to see things that are different.
It might seem counterintuitive to me, but the brain actually is doing a great job of getting you to be more attuned and to be seeing things that you normally don’t.
And that’s a good thing.
That’s why we’re able to get things done in the way that we do.
If we can change our perception of what is really happening in our world, Lissman says, “we can really change the way the world works.”
It’s an interesting theory that Littmnts research has sparked a lively discussion online.
And it seems to have some serious supporters.
But there are other scientists who aren’t so convinced that the theory can explain everything about how we perceive our world.
LISTERMAN/DAVID: So, if you could get rid of the thought that we’re really seeing what we’re seeing and instead have a good experience of it, that would be really good?
That’s a great theory, but I don’t think that’s really what we’ve seen.
The more I try and apply this to other people, I think it gets more and more confusing.
I have no idea what it actually says.
It just seems so self-serving.
The way we think about the world doesn’t reflect what we see.
And I don`t think that it actually is a useful theory.
You should be able learn to be happy with what you see.
It can’t be good enough for everyone, says psychologist Jonathan Caulkins of the University of North Carolina.
It doesn’t say much about us, it doesn’t even say much in general about our brains.
It seems to be about a person trying to find out what they really need to be.
You don’t know what’s good or bad.
You just need to find