A Tribute to Letter Writing and to Oliver Sacks

My friendship with Oliver Sacks blossomed through an old fashioned medium, letter writing.

On Being a Subject of Oliver Sacks

: After I experienced a dramatic improvement in my vision, I was asked to participate in several scientific experiments. However, the investigator from whom I learned the most was Oliver Sacks.

Changing Minds

Can a few hours of watching a 3D movie overcome a lifetime of deficient stereovision? Just how plastic is the adult brain?

Vision, Space, and Thought

As I reread Rudolf Arnheim’s brilliant book, Visual Thinking, I wondered again how much our vision shapes our thinking. Anyone who has undergone a dramatic improvement in vision is in a special position to answer this question.

What Op Art Can Tell Us About Reading.

Why do some people hate to read? Op art paintings reveal the subtle fixational eye movements that may interfere with reading.

Does Reading Give You A Headache?

A simple picture of black and white stripes provides insights into reading problems.

Behaving Like Animals

When animals behave like we do, is it because we share similar feelings?

Before and After

Many forms of rehabilitation, including physical, occupational, speech, and vision therapy, address different aspects of a person’s brain injury. But what allows an individual to make a connection from the person he was before the injury to the person he is now?

Why Don't Young Babies Fear Heights?

Most mothers know that their babies, when they first learn to crawl, will crawl right off the changing table or even a stair landing. Why don’t young infants fear heights? This fearlessness is not due to a lack of depth perception but rather to the delayed development of an additional visual skill.

Overlooking the Obvious

When do we become too dependent on technology?

Visual Snow

Do you experience visual snow? It’s as if you are looking at the world through the static or “snow” on a TV set. I never see visual snow outside in bright light, but I think I do experience it when looking sometimes at a blank wall, especially in dim light. So, in the last two days, I’ve been experimenting with this phenomenon.

Keep Music in the Schools!

With limited financial resources, music programs are often cut in our schools Yet, scientific studies indicate that music training in the classroom may have important benefits for audition and speech perception, and these benefits last a lifetime.

When New Views Meet Old Assumptions

When, at age 48, I first began to see in 3D, I often felt like the child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” My vision told me something that conflicted with the common beliefs of the day.

David Hubel: A View of a Scientist

When I learned to see in 3D at age 48, despite having been cross-eyed since infancy, I thought the last person who would accept my story was Nobel laureate, David Hubel. But I was completely wrong.

Why Singing Together Is Good For Us

Are there biological reasons for why singing together is so pleasurable?

Moving To The Beat

Why do we and some other animals move to the beat?

Healing as a Creative Act

Do the stories we grow up with impact our ability to heal?

Vision and the Self

Does a life-changing experience, such as a dramatic change in vision, alter your sense of self?

Face-To-Face

In this era of emails and texting, is there still a role for face-to-face communication?

Seeing Past Dogma

A mime artist entertains a crowd by moving each eye independently. This may be a small trick, but it poses a challenge to scientific wisdom that has persisted for more than 100 years.

Math and Memory

How important is the ability to do arithmetic in your head?

Reflections on Christmas Lights

Do we all see Christmas lights in the same way?

Vision, Music, and Waking Up the Brain

Seeing better changed the way I play and hear music.

Piano Practice Can Have Far-Reaching Effects.

I have always been cross-eyed and, for most of my life, thought this left me with an irreversible deficit in my vision. Yet, my parents gave me something in childhood that helped me overcome this pessimistic state of mind and learn to see in a remarkable new way.

Thinking in Three Dimensions

I thought that knowing the mechanism behind 3D vision would prepare me for what I’d see if I gained stereovision. But I was wrong.

Do We See The Parts Or The Whole?

Sometimes, we learn to recognize a person, plant, or object by focusing on certain characteristics. Over time, however, we identify that person, plant, or object, not by the details, but by their appearance as a whole. How does that happen?

What the Brain Tells the Eye

Before we make any voluntary movement, a great deal of planning, which is largely unconscious, takes place in our brain. The same is true for our vision.

The Brain of a Synesthete

Do you see colors with letters or numbers? If so, what’s going on in your brain?

A Surprising Reason Why Two (Coordinated) Eyes Are Better Than One.

A lack of 3D vision is not the only reason why it’s harder to drive with crossed eyes.

The Power of Mothers

One mother’s determined and successful search for a solution to her child’s school and vision problems.

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