Essay on The Effect Of Light On Human Perception

Essay on The Effect Of Light On Human Perception

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Our perception of the world is dependent on our senses and response to stimulus. Sensation is the process of absorbing energy from a physical stimulus in the environment and converting this energy into neural impulses and sending them to the brain. The brain then interprets and organises this sensory information resulting in our subjective conscious experience or perception. (Lefton & Brannon 2003) The five human sensory organs receive the stimulus which determines our perception. Arguably the most important of these senses is vision. Humans use sight to gain the most sensory information, and the sense of sight has evolved to be highly sophisticated. Importantly, vision depends on the presence of light. (Sparknotes, 2016) To study the effect of light on human perception, I conducted an exercise of watching a sunset. The following essay describes my experience of observing the sunset at St. Kilda beach on the 12th of April 2016, and an interpretation of the experience in relation to biological mechanisms.
One important feature of light perception is brightness. When I first arrived at St. Kilda beach at 4pm, the scenery was extremely bright. The sun was in clear sight, unobstructed by the dissipating clouds and illuminated the entire landscape. Each individual grain of sand could be seen and the sun reflected white light off the waves while also penetrating the ocean. Structures and people in the far distance could be seen clearly and their details distinguishable. As time went on, at around 5-5:30pm, there were noticeable changes in the brightness of the landscape compared to when the sun was at its peak height. This was partially due to the clouds covering the sun at times. Regardless, it seemed like the landscape’s brightness ...


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...a primal response to feel afraid and uncertain, as during the period of darkness we should be retreated to our warm, fire lit homes instead of continuing to battle nature.
All in all, this was an extremely rewarding and eye opening experience. I was far more sentient and perceptive while observing the sunset compared to my daily life. It was a major contrast to my usual fast paced and busy lifestyle, where I am constantly being overwhelmed by an abundance of sensory information. This experience allowed me to profoundly focus on limited sensory information and to be consciously aware of the stimulus my sensory organs were processing, as well as my consequent perception of the sensations. Ultimately, this exercise and subsequent research allowed me to grasp a better understanding of the effect of light on vision, and also benefitted me in becoming more perceptive.


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