Perception and Affordance

When we see something, like a chair, we are not only seeing the chair but our brains are also making calculations as to what that chair can afford us; give us a place to sit perhaps.

It turns out that we are making those types of calculations all the time. In fact, the relationships change as we learn new skills, develop keen insights, or just grow up.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about perception and affordance

The Value of Failure

Failure is a word that carries a lot of baggage, arousing emotional responses that we’d usually rather avoid.

What about success? Why does the thought of success conjure images and feelings of comfort and satisfaction. This week, “Two Guys on Your Head” examine how the heights of success and the “training wheels” of failure impact our everyday lives.

We’re wired with a dopamine reward system that releases positive or negative chemical affect in our brains depending upon the success or failure of our efforts.  Success feels good, while failure feels bad.  So we tend to seek success and avoid failure. It’s simple.

But, how can you determine how much exertion to expend toward reaching a particular goal if you’ve never failed at something?  You might just run yourself into the ground trying to avoid failure, but it’s better to let failure experiences happen and serve to help you gauge your efforts.

Failure is a learning mechanism, like training wheels on a bicycle.  Our little mistakes serve to build up a framework of experience that allows us to more proficiently navigate our lives.

The fear of failure is a very challenging obstacle to overcome.  To some, fear of failure can be immobilizing.  When we legislate ourselves rigidly against the negative feelings aroused by the experience of a mistake, we are short-changing ourselves. Failure-driven learning mechanisms are not being utilized because our society reinforces a desire to avoid mistakes.