Using mirrors to confuse your brain (and Dad)
Our eyes see everything going on around us. The eyes then send this information to our brain which then interprets the information they are given. Sometimes the brain has to fudge a little when making these interpretations. This is especially true when our eyes see something that the brain knows cannot be true. In cases like this, the brain interprets the information the best it can and may end up feeling a little bit confused…
- Have Dad leave the room. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
- Glue the two mirrors together, back to back. Be very careful not to cut yourself on the mirrors. If the edges of the mirrors are too sharp, you may want to apply tape to them.
- Glue the two dowels to the mirrors, one on each side. Be sure to glue the dowels in the center of the mirror. These will be our ‘handles’.
- Hold the mirror in front of you, slightly to one side, by grasping a dowel in each hand.
- Look into one side of the mirror while twisting the hand that is on the other side of the mirror (the hand on the opposite side of the mirror you are looking into).
- If you didn’t follow the instructions in step 1 then (a) help Dad off the floor, (b) read the explanation below, and then (c) explain to Dad the scientific principles behind this experiment so the next time he doesn’t get so freaked out.
Feels pretty weird doesn’t it. Your eyes are seeing your hand holding the one dowel in one hand and a reflection of that same hand in the mirror. Your mind interprets the reflection of the hand as the real thing. While you are twisting the dowel in the other hand, the brain feels the twisting motion and expects to see that hand moving. When it doesn’t move, the mind gets confused (and Dad runs screaming from the room).
Now you understand why your parents tell you ‘Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see’…
The brain is the master control center of the body. The brain constantly receives information from the senses about conditions both inside the body and outside it. The brain rapidly analyzes this information and then sends out messages that control body functions and actions. The brain also stores information from past experience, which makes learning and remembering possible. In addition, the brain is the source of thoughts, moods, and emotions.
In such simple animals as worms and insects, the brain consists of small groups of nerve cells. All animals with a backbone have a complicated brain made up of many parts. Animals that have an exceptionally well developed brain include apes, dolphins, and whales. Human beings have the most highly developed brain of all. It consists of billions of interconnected cells and enables people to use language, solve difficult problems, and create works of art.