Count the Dots

For this exercise, all you have to do is count how many black dots you see.

Count the black dots
If you think you’ve experienced some kind of electronic perception manipulation, try printing the previous page, look at the graphic on paper, and see if you get similar results …

What’s going on?

David Hewson in Australia reported that this is referred to as “Hermann’s Grid” and is explained (somewhat) at:

What’s the point?

I would say this exercise illustrates the following:

  • We can ‘see things’ that aren’t there.
  • What we ‘see’ is not just a function of our eyes; what we ‘see’ results from what our visual-brain-system detects, processes, and reports.
  • Even when we ‘know’ that our visual-brain-system is ‘lying’ to us, we cannot overcome it – we continue to see black dots (or even colored ones)
  • Given this clear demonstration of how our senses can sometimes fool us, perhaps we should exercise a bit more tentativeness and skepticism when we are tempted to fall victim to “seeing is believing”, because …
  • If we ‘see’ black dots when there are only white dots … what else do we ‘see’ that’s not there? At home, at work, in our relationships, among friends, etc. Can you recall a situation in which you saw what wasn’t there; heard what wasn’t said; understood what wasn’t intended?

What else came up for you in this exercise? What lessons do you take away?