Tag Archives: Unconscious

Unusual experiences that perhaps do not have proper names

Wakewisdom – If you wake up “feeling” a particular opinion about some question or matter in your life, do consider it very seriously, because it is a message from your unconscious mind which is more coldly objective than one’s daytime mind, which has a dangerous bias towards optimism and self-delusion. The one single thought sitting inside your head when you wake up is well worth noting, should you wake with one.

Midmorningkeynote – Whatever one is thinking, feeling, experiencing, doing or listening to at 10 o’clock in the morning sets the tone for the whole day, and might reverberate through one’s thoughts at later times of the day. Music enjoyed at this time of day could develop into an earworm.

Drowsyloudness – Do sounds suddenly sound louder and somehow closer or interior when you feel tired, drowsy or are half-asleep? Does a sense of the timing of sounds disappear, making sounds seem somehow isolated or freed in time? Does it feel as though some barrier between you and sounds around you fails when you are sleepy? No? That’s a pity, because it can be quite a trippy thing if you choose to listen to an epic piece of music while half asleep, and there’s no need to dabble in dangerous and expensive drugs. Might I suggest listening to “A Canyon” by Philip Glass when you are half-way to the land of nod? Thank me later.

Necksqueak – Being able to hear the sounds of the internal workings of one’s body, like the squeak of tendons rubbing when I move my neck, or the sound of blood pulsing through small blood vessels inside ears, is a bad thing for me, because for me it means a bad headache is on the way.

Sightbliss – I suspect that this one is also associated with headaches. It doesn’t happen often. Hard to describe and subtle. Yesterday I experienced a brief moment of it (and it is typically an effect that lasts only moments) while we were walking back from the beach just after sunset. I had a bit of a headache at the time, but not severe. The trigger seems to be an abrupt decrease in outdoor light levels, as typically happens after sunset, and could possibly be triggered by the addition of cloud-cover. I can’t point to any way in which the eyesight clearly alters, it is more like an awareness of seeing or an openness to visual stimuli abruptly increases. Sometimes it feels like the eyes are suddenly flooded with vision, and in hindsight it seems as though eyesight was previously inferior by comparison. My theory is that it is an unknown adaptation to night-time vision, or a point of abrupt transition between a more neurologically-guarded mode for daytime vision, to a less defensive and more sensitive mode of nocturnal visual processing. I don’t think it is as simple as an opening of the pupils, because the openness of the pupils changes all the time, but this experience is quite rare.

Earwormmessages – Next time you have a piece of music that won’t stop going round and round in your mind, consider the lyrics or the title of the piece of music. Is it a wise reflection on things that are currently happening in your life, or is it just a very catchy tune, or both? I’d like to make it clear that this is not “hearing voices”. It is the involuntary experience of having a tune in one’s head which just happens to have lyrics that seem to be a commentary on the current events in one’s life.

My super-recognition skills applied forensically

Earlier this year I was required to identify a person who broke a law from a police photo-board. As you might expect, this was as easy as falling off a log, because I got a good look at the offender. I was able to identify the offender with great confidence, as well as point out an aspect of the offender’s appearance that had markedly changed between the time I saw the offender and the time when the photo was taken. I was also able to rule out all the other photos as not being photos of the offender, which is actually even more important, because while it is important to prosecute offenders, it is even more important to avoid arresting or prosecuting an innocent person. My successful identification of the offender was confirmed by the police officer who was investigating the matter, which hardly seemed necessary as I was quite sure I was right, unless the offender has a twin or is from one of those families in which siblings look very similar. I should point out that the police officer didn’t immediately confirm that my face identification was correct, because the police have a very thoughtful procedure in place to prevent any possibility that an investigating police officer could influence the process of a witness identifying faces from a photo board.

The usefulness of my skills didn’t end there. I have found my ability to identify family resemblance in faces and in other visual characteristics invaluable in identifying relatives and associates of the offender. I was even able to informally identify an associate completely unconsciously. When I saw this person I felt that he was in some way linked to the offender, but not a blood relative. I took note of his appearance. Later I saw the same person in the company of the offender. I’m not sure whether it was a memory of his appearance or his demeanor at the time which initially caught my attention. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that an associate of the offender has recently dyed their hair black, in an apparent attempt to evade identification, which is a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Dumb people often assume that everyone else is as dumb as they are, but a change in hair colour isn’t likely to fool a super-recognizer, and probably not a person with adequate face and body recognition capabilities.

It appears to me that my superior face recognition ability has given me an edge over other people, because it appears to me that I’m not recognized nearly as often as I identify others, but one can’t be completely sure. One thing that I’m certain of is that super-recognition ability is definitely of value to police, forensic and security work in many different ways, and possibly in ways that no one has for-seen. Police forces need to be sure that they are making the best possible use of the super-recognizers that they already have in their force, and if possible trying to recruit new officers that have this natural and fairly rare ability. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age police recruitment processes are generally blind to the issue of face recognition, superiority or deficits.