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Illusions and the Brain

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Although the human mind is an amazing organ, it nevertheless remains imperfect. Optical illusions serve as but one example, where specific imagery tricks the brain. Yet words have an identical effect. Think of advertising that induces you to buy, or even hypnotism. Both sneak through all sorts of defenses, and you become susceptible to suggestions. Then there's the following example:

Aoccdrnig to a rsceearcehr at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. What do you about optical illusions? How do they trick the brain?

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Were you surprised that you could read the second paragraph? Why/not?
  2. Why do you think you were (or weren't) able to read the second paragraph?
  3. What other tricks or illusions do you know? Please explain.

Summarization: Summarize the article with a partner. Try to do so with only two or three sentences.

You Try: Now write your summary from the previous step, but mix up the letters. Are you able to read the sentences? Why/not?

Download the lesson:



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