POSITRACTION: Our “diminished” perceptions and capabilities



The Human Planet | Psychology

The astonishing vision and focus of Namibia’s nomads

The Himba people of Namibia can see fine details and ignore distraction much better than most other human beings – a finding that may reflect the many ways that modern life is changing our minds and abilities.

David Robson7 March 2017

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The first hints that modernisation could change our vision came from the Victorian anthropologist WHR Rivers, who explored the islands of the Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea at the turn of the 20th Century. As he met the locals, he offered them various sensory tests, including the following phenomenon, known as the Muller-Lyer illusion. Take a look at the two lines below left, and try it for yourself:

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A stunning — to me at least — revelation.

I’ve long thought about paradigms and memes.

(Paradigms can be defined as a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind. Memes can be defined as a unit of cultural transmission, imitation, and | or replication.)

So paradigms are our framework around perceptions and memes are the ideas that we exchange.

This striking development is around our perceptions and capabilities.

The Namibian nomad’s vision and focus is so precise that they can identify an individual by its pattern. Clearly “we” can’t do that in the “modern world”; “we” have to use ear tags.

Obviously, that’s a stunning adaption. And the article goes on to say that “… … even very short day trips to Opuwo seemed to have had a lasting impact their perception … …”!


What an adaptive capability humanity has. 

But in our adaptability, what have we lost.

This article changes how I “see” the world.

I’m not sure it’s for the better.

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