This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Seeing what is, or denying its existence...

There was an experiment by Lester Luborsky in the 1960s, who wanted to test what people see when they looking something: His teams attached electrodes to peoples' eyes to monitor what the eye itself tracked when presented with an image. Luborsky found that if photos shown to participants contained morally objectionable material or something that threatened the participants worldview (whatever that worldview was), their eyes would not track, would literally not see, whatever that thing was, not even once, during viewing. One example from the study: Participants were shown a photo of a man reading a newspaper. In the foreground of the photo there was a very obvious silhouette of a woman's breast. Turns out, in the case of participants who found nudity objectionable, their eyes never once tracked over to the clearly visible silhouette and, when asked later, these people did not remember seeing a breast.
So...when we in Ligonier, USA, hear/read something we don't agree with, do we just not see it, just block it out? Are we then in a hall of self-reflecting mirrors, constantly seeing ourselves (meaning our viewpoints), carefully avoiding what interferes with what doesn't jibe with our carefully constructed worldviews? 

Also, how do we brand new, factual information that questions our dearly held beliefs? By dismissing it as "foreign"...or?