Thursday, May 27, 2010

Training Peripheral Vision and Focussing Awareness

Just how would we keep eye contact in a nudist colony?

Allan and Barbara Pease pose this question in their book, The Definitive Book of Body Language. Before we read anything into the following quote about the remainder of this article, my purpose is to capture two great strengths of each gender and propose they be combined for all.

The Pease’s’ note:

“Women’s peripheral vision extends to at least 45 degrees to each side, above and below, which means she can appear to be looking at someone’s face while, at the same time, she is inspecting their goods and chattels.”[1]

Female Attribute – Peripheral Vision

Women might have a biological advantage over men in this way, but there’s no reason why a man can’t train himself to see a broader physical view.

This is not for reasons of ogling.

It’s done to maximise awareness of surroundings. There is any number of advantages in doing this from capitalising on half opportunities to foreseeing physical threats and responding appropriately to them.

I have found that when I focused on training my peripheral vision, through simply a heightened awareness, a strange but good thing happened. The moment I became aware of what I was focussing on peripherally, my mind immediately began filling in the blanks as to the blurriness of things at the ranges of my peripheral vision—hence I experienced a heightened general awareness.

The great thing about this is if we want to see with the skill of a hawk we can—well, as much as humanly possible, anyway.

Male Attribute – Focused Awareness

I’ve nothing formal to base this on but it’s generally accepted that men have higher levels of testosterone than women, and they’re therefore more naturally aggressively assertive.

Take this as a generalisation which fits most (though not all) the time then. Men are possibly better gifted at going after something—in this case, let’s consider specifically, conscious awareness.

They focus on an issue and solve it as much as they possibly can. Their focus sees them capitalise on the objective, to the exclusion of the emotions, as they so often distract us awkwardly.

Both Attributes equalling Focused, Broad Encompassing Vision

I believe it’s possible for both genders to grow the opposite gender’s attributes leading to greater powers of focused, broad encompassing vision, i.e. the fuller suite of practical vision capability.

Men can learn to focus more of their thought not simply on the direct thing in front of them, to the exclusion of the peripheral, but including the peripheral.

Women can learn to focus their thought on being more tenaciously focused and directive; more than they might otherwise.

Of course, a balance of the two is recommended for everyone.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] Allan & Barbara Pease, The Definitive Book of Body Language – How to Read Others’ Thoughts by their Gestures (Buderim, Australia: Pease International Ltd., 2006), p. 176.

1 comment:

  1. I found this post by looking for peripheral vision training on Google. It supports what I also discovered by myself. Me and my girlfriend were great examples of narrowly focused and wide vision. The best example of this is when picking (edible)mushrooms in a forest. I can't find any and I just tend to go to keep her company while she finds plenty in spots I've just walked over.

    However, it is very possible to train peripheral vision in men with instant improvement. All a man has to do is stand motionlessly, quiet all thoughts, look and focus on a spot in the centre of the field of view (I mean really focus hard, to see all the details so you almost don't see anything else, just that spot). This will strain your eyes a bit. Allow them to relax and while still not thinking you'll slowly start to see the field of vision to expand out to almost to your side. You'll see less detail of everything(including centre) and if you start thinking about something this will break this state, but it is a very relaxing and aware state. I tend to use it for walking. I always had a bit of anxiety about being in crowds of strangers(having been raised in the country side) so now I use this technique when walking city streets and I can see faces of everyone passing me without nervously looking at one person at a time every split second.

    The reason this technique works is that when you strain your eyes and brain and the allow it to relax it goes from one opposite(very narrowly focused vision and attention) to the other (wide vision and attention) like a rubber string bouncing when stretched. Interestingly this heightened awareness state must be overloading the brain with information to the point where any focused thought will break the state. I would love to see fMRI of a brain in those two states of awareness to compare the difference.


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