Monday, December 16, 2013

Thoughts on the process of gaining stereopsis

There's a weird conflict in the way that I have historically thought about the process of gaining stereopsis.  There's the way that I am naturally inclined to think about gaining stereopsis, which is grabbing the eye and making it move properly sort of like how you would learn a mechanical skill involving the manipulation of an external object, like a bow, gun, or instrument.  Then there's the other way, which I think is the better way to think about gaining stereopsis, which is mentally occupying the eye and then letting the mind's control over the eye occur naturally.

Gaining stereopsis is really different from learning a skill which involves the manipulation of an external object because gaining stereopsis means recovering control of a primary sense organ which is at the very seat of our consciousness.  It's normal to think that the 'I' is something in between our functioning eyes, or in the case of strabismics, to think of the 'I' as something behind the fixing eye.  And it's because vision is the primary way we get around.   Our visual cortex is huge.  It occupies about 30% of the cerebral cortex's volume.  So whatever the visual cortex is doing, it's probably important and it's doing something that requires a lot of work.

The other day I was thinking about what it means to gain stereopsis, what's involved, and what's going on in the brain.  It's got to be a significant wiring overhaul.  Most likely recovering stereopsis means reclaiming neurons for the purpose of using both eyes and integrating their input.

The other day when I was driving, I took turns closing each of my eyes. Doing that made me realize that my visual field has significantly expanded.  When I closed an eye, I realized that I could see quite a bit, but it wasn't nearly as much as it was when I was using both.  It's as if my consciousness had expanded, and as if the observer was suddenly larger.  There's a lot more of me that's 'there'.  This must be related to what Heather said about seeing in stereo and how everything is much more real, and there.  And what Susan Barry said about how seeing in stereo made her feel like she was in the world instead of just occupying and observing it.  There's something fundamental to consciousness that's going on.

I wonder if visualizing the observer becoming bigger could accelerate vision therapy results, if I could visualize creating more space for the bigger observer.  It would have a correspondence with the idea that the process of gaining stereopsis involves claiming neurons and more neural 'real-estate' for new purposes.

No comments:

Post a Comment