Battle in the Brain

by twizzlertee

Vases and Faces:

This brief exercise is designed to create a cognitive conflict and to observe how it can be solved, as a shift is made from L-mode to R-mode. Using the famous optical illusion “Vase/Faces,” first one profile is drawn with corresponding horizontal lines. The second profile is then completed creating a “vase.”

The accompanying instructions serve to strongly reinforce the verbal L-mode, directing the student to trace over the lines on the initial profile and while doing so, to name each part of the face (forehead, nose, upper lip, etc…) and at the same time keenly focus on the meaning of these terms. Then, when the second profile is attempted requiring the use of the visual R-mode, feelings of confusion and conflict arise as the brain tries to process the action with L-mode.

Predictably, I did experience this conflict and was momentarily stymied as to which direction to move my pencil. I recovered pretty quickly by letting go of the descriptive language and used the shapes of the “vase,” rather than the parts of the profile to guide me, essentially “bumping” L-mode processing in favour of R-mode. Having now read a fair amount about the two types of processing, it was gratifying to tangibly experience the two modes in action.