The Missing 80%

  • Posted on: 24 September 2014
  • By: jared

William Glasser said we learn 30% of what we see. Turns out there is some truth to that, kind off. Our brains are have a lot to process. Through our eyes your brain will take in about 20% of what we see. The other 80% is filled in by your memories. I don't have any facts on other senses but I'd gather we process them in a similar manner. The more time spend observing with our eyes the we'll understand what we are looking at.

If you've ever though, 'that doesn't seem quite right but I'm sure why'. Your brain is telling you something is wrong but you haven't learn what that 80% should really be.

Early in my college art education Leon Parson drilled into our heads to "draw what you know not what you see, until the happy day you know what you see". The reason we often don't understand what we see is due to our brains filling in that other 80%. Someone had to explain the shape of a head, average proportions of features, how light changes across various planes. With some basic understanding under my belt I could now understand what I was seeing. Distance between eyes, high of a hairline, and angle of a nose now made a little more sense.

So if you want to enjoy that painting, gourmet meal, or concert performance, take the time to teach your brain what makes up that 80%.