OxNet Seminar 5 – Psychology and Perception

In our penultimate seminar, Professor Hannah Smithson took us through the fascinating process of how our eyes and brains process visual information. Thady Fox has shared his reflections below:

Seeing is believing. Our sight is held almost as a pure portrayal of reality, celebrated for truth in law and life. However, my trust in this sense, this foundational pillar of understanding, has been shaken by Professor Hannah Smithson in our lecture on perception. We explored the trichromatic retinal processing of light stimuli and the ensuing contextual adaption. Thus, we explored the translation, the transformation of reality into a new form. In approaching Robert Grosseteste’s treatises on colour, this distinction between reality and perception is vital. Seeing medieval reality through Grosseteste’s eyes is not enough; one must also process through his mind, relate context to his observations, perceive as him.  

Thady Fox, Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School 

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