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Perception activities are used to bring about an awareness of the usually subconscious act of perceiving the world through the senses. Most perception activities focus on the sense of sight, though there are activities through which a person can learn more about how the other senses work as well. By participating in these activities, children and adults can learn more about how the senses and the brain work. These activities may also help educators and healthcare professionals identify possible sensory problems in children.
Some of the most common types of perception activities are in the form of optical illusions. These images can trick a person into seeing something that isn't there, as in the case of repetitive patterns that can appear to move or rotate as a person looks into the center of the image. They may also take the form of images that can be viewed in more than one way. For example, the Rubin vase, a drawing which can appear as a black vase or as the profile of two white faces. These types of activities help demonstrate that things are not always what they seem and that two people may view the same image and perceive two different images.
There are also many perception activities used to demonstrate how the eyes physically gather information about the world. In one simple activity, an individual extends one arm and blocks a small object in the distance with the index finger. Closing first one eye and then the other will cause the image of the person's finger to jump from one side to the other. In another activity, one person sits close to a mirror and makes eye contact with the reflected image while a second observes that person's eyes to see the small back and forth movements which are made continuously to keep visual information current.
Activities to demonstrate the perception of other senses are also common. An individual can hold his or her nose while tasting different foods to learn about how taste and smell are closely linked. In order to explore the sense of movement, a person can walk on a treadmill for a couple of minutes and then quickly step off onto solid ground, where the sensation of movement will continue for a moment until the brain readjusts. Though perception activities are mainly used as fun ways to draw attention to the process of perceiving the world, some of them take the form of tests, such as vision, hearing, or motor-coordination tests, that can help identify possible sensory problems.
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