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Time Transfixed, 1938

Intro to Visual Intelligence

By fenix-aarizon | Fenix Book Reviews | 18 Nov 2021

Image source: Time Transfixed, 1938

The intro to Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life describes the Author experiencing just moments prior to a police breach in response to a domestic violence call. She went on to describe how she learned to visually perceive the world through art.

She also went into some detail about attending law school and then circles back to the ride-along she was involved with, from the first paragraph. Amy E. Herman's art background is the most important however, due to the fact that the book is written as a testament to how the reader can improve their objective observation skills through the many examples therein.

Interestingly enough, she began to describe how the breaching officer must've been interpreting the situation, as well as how considerate he must've been to follow through on a need to communicate his viewpoint to the other officer there.

The Author, Amy E. Herman brings up an important trait of our brain; we process only so much information though we do see much more. We observe more than we process. This time around - I will be filling the page with phrases and some bullet points I picked up from the first five chapters of the book Visual Intelligence.


Page 9

If we're not engaging our brain intelligently, we'll begin degrading our neuroplasticity - or more elementary; our ability to cognate, or to make connections between stimuli.

The science of our intelligence states as long as we're learning, we'll continue making new connections - perhaps trashing the old cells and replenishing them with new ones (cellular regeneration).

  • Studying (new material)
  • Reading or thinking about a new concept
  • Playing "brain games"

Page 10

Cognitive conditioning "staves off" dementia. "...discomfort and uncertainty bring about 'the best' in our brain."


Page 14

Art of Perception Program

  • Assess
    • "Studying the mechanics of sight and out built-in blindness."
  • Analyze
    • "...what we have uncovered, including prioritizing, recognizing patterns, and the important difference between perception and inference."
  • Articulate
    • " to articulate our discoveries to ourselves and others."
  • Adapt
  • "...adapt our behavior based on the first three elements."

Turn off autopilot
Why do *you* want to live with auto pilot ON?


Page 17

"Mistakes slow you down more than slowing down does." and "Inventions are less about creation; more about discovery."


Page 25

"The gentleman has ears and he hears not, eyes and he sees not!"

Bell's Sherlockian assumption: "Most people see but do not observe."


Page 26

"...seeing can be thought of as the automatic, involuntary recording of images. Observing is seeing, but consciously, carefully, and thoughtfully."

I think riding motorcycles is a recreational activity that provokes a controllable amount of stimulus to those who can make the kinds of necessary choices to come back safe. However, I also think riding motorcycles is ultimately a selfish waste of observational skills.

How we use our abilities can be destructive, especially when we are wasting our time with trivial experiences. I think most of us, if we apply ourselves, could produce greater work than philosophers and scientists, because we have all the advantages and all the tools necessary. Though, we are also the most distracted of all time.


Page 31

"...conscious perception requires attention...attention is selective."


Page 41

Perception is how we interpret the information we gather during observation.

Side note to page 41:
I've been averted to pleasing others by sharing my opinions, because I don't feel one thing for any particular circumstances. I feel many different things over time. I'm annoyed by how often others want to record what I think about something at a particular time - as if that thing will remain constant. It's almost as if people want to keep a record on the things I say, I feel, so they can hold it against me later on, "But you said thus and such on this day..."


Page 47-48

Becoming aware of a subconscious process, it becomes a conscious concern.
When practice becomes a common skill, it will cross into our subconsciouss.

Searching for facts:

  • Separate subjective discoveries from objective ones


Page 53

Frequency illusion: when we first learn about something and then suddenly see it everywhere


Page 58-59

Don't preclude new experiences by old ones

  • Don't make changes harder to find
  • Don't miss important details
  • Don't go into autopilot
  • Don't get presumptuous about your expertise, abilities, or safety


Page 59

Art of Illusion

  • Change blindness
  • Confirmation bias

"You're always vulnerable to a thief with the right skills."


Page 61

Complete breakdown of communication

  • Lack of information
  • No command center
  • Panic, confusion, chaos
  • Too many potential threats
  • Identity chaos

Page 64

"People tell lies. Just because they claim it's true does not make it so."


Page 67

"But the secrets of life are often revealed through small details. Small details can solve crimes. Small details can lead to significant diagnoses. Small details reveal big things."


Page 72

"Situational awarenessis imperative for decision making in many situations from air traffic driving a car or maneuvering a bicycle on a busy street."



Page 77

"An objective observation is based on empirical or mathematical facts. A subjective observation is based on assumptions, opinions, feelings, or values."

How to Avoid the Subjective, page 77
"Measure whenever you can..."

Paraphrased: "Finally, replace descriptive adjectives with comarative nouns. "Smelly" is subjective...A concrete noun to compare with "smelly" might be, "The dog smelled like dead fish.""


Page 81

"...subjective inferences are informed by observations and grounded in perception."


Page 84

Refrigerator blindness: We are wired to miss large hints in how we observe


Page 87


  • Inattentional
  • Attentional
  • Perceptual
  • Familiarity
  • Change

"Sometimes we miss something hidden in plain sight."
"We overlook things unexpected or too familiar."
"Cognitive blind spots are not breakdowns in our visual processing system, but a testament to how effecient our brain is.


Page 89

"Our ability to filter-out allowed us to focus on the finite."


Page 90

"...the brain doesn't need a whole lot of data to fire a fight or flight response."


Page 91

"...hone your attention."


Page 94

"...once students were engaged by a novel activity, their eyes were opened to more details."
"...we can't fix something we don't know is broken."
"...most are unaware they're unaware."


Page 95

" become aware of blind spots, we must practice identifying what is in them."


Page 98

COBRA: Camoflauged, One, Break, Realign, Ask
" find hidden details, focus sharp and single-minded."
"...avoid brain drain by "single-tasking" or "mono-tasking."
"...focus is a mental muscle, weakened by multitasking."

Self note:
I think the general temptation of being distracted is routed (for me, personally) by the desire to avoid things that are hard to do (or learn).


Page 101

"We often miss the unexpected, because we're too focused on what we think should be there."

Solution to inattentional blindness:
"Look in a different direction, look to the edges, take a break from your current activity, and step back to make sure you're seeing the whole picture."

"Studying art forces us to use and sharpen our visual-spatial intelligence."

Page 106 (self note)

I just thought about how important it must be for intelligence analysts to accurately describe things they're observing. This book sheds new light on (literally) old pictures. For analysts to accurately describe their obversations must be game-changer.

Computers are incapable of processing imagery the way human analysts do. This is why it has been said that computers do not have the inference-capability that humans do.


Page 109

"Acknowledge and make use of the human condition as you observe it."


Page 110

"Engage COBRA when looking for details."
"Sometimes we're so busy looking for the answer that we miss the information that can get us there."


Page 111

"What's *your* mahogany table? What's hiding in plain sight?"
"Gather *only* facts, to sort the objective from the subjective."


Page 112

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody sees and thinking what nobody has thought."

Self note:
Instead of staying in your place - the place many of us have found comfort in, find a way that nobody else has found, to get out. This means that whatever you're afflicted by, there's a way out - but only when you're seeking it. This also means you must stop denying your predicament and move past the unproductive stages of grief, to arrive at a place to think - for yourself.



This sums up the first five chapters of Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life. You may read the same book and receive other important phrases as things you need to remember. I encourage you to take a look at your local library. In my library it was in Social Sciences: Psychology.

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