Friday, February 24, 2012

The Blue Box that's Changing How We Think About Thinking

The Blue Box Test, The current RCD test used by Ocular
Studies classes at MIT, Miskatonic and Boulder State University

Found this test on a website and though I'd repost it. Something to be learned here one way or the other.

'The Blue Box That's Changing How We Think About Thinking
by Dr. Sudot Oehnym
UK Journal of Critical Thinking and Group Psychology

While this box of color is unremarkable, it's actually the leading test for a very specialized learning disorder that effects as many as 5% of Americans. It can (very rarely) short circuit  the rational segments of their brains and can effect anyone from the very young to the very old.

And there's a test for it that's almost too simple to be believed. This blue box.

While 19 of you will see a simple blue box, 1 in 20 you will see it as a shade of green, and 1 in 100 will see it as a dark or "forest" green (the rarest group.) The condition, called Retinal Credulus Decipo, is caused by misfiring connections between the eye and the left brain, causing images to bypass the left hemisphere and enter the amygdala directly (the emotion center of the brain.) It can make a person become angry, frightened and short sighted if untreated, and it can actually come and go. It also, for reasons we don't fully understand, causes the "green effect."

In this single shade of blue, RCD sufferers can self diagnose and get help. It's a huge leap forward.

"It's a rare disorder, but not as rare as you might think," said Dr. Alan Smithee, a tenured fellow a the Centralia University Ocular Biology Department. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. I actually have it. My mother has it too. It's not based on education or any of the factors you might think." Dr. Smithee showed me a number of posts in an Internet forum where long time sufferers supported each other in battling what they referred to as 'the Greens'.

"We shouldn't still have this in our DNA," Dr. Smithee said, looking at the chart with me and pointing out how universal it was. "It's just a bi-product of evolution. When we were once tribal creatures, and RCD was very likely a benefit back then. You stood with your tribe, blue was green, and so on and so forth. It was part of a shared societal identity and allowed information (sometimes) to travel from person to person at a reasonable pace."

I asked why one would want to 'short circuit' the impulse to validate news, and Dr. Smithee explained. Defense.

"When you hear you're being attacked by barbarians," Dr. Smithee said, "it's best to pass that news on quickly and believe what you hear because if you don't you'll be the only one in your village when the Vikings attack.'Green Squares' can have trouble with these subtle shades simply because they're do. There's no rhyme or reason, though it's ebbed and flowed over time." RCD was especially prevalent during the Middle Ages and in the Jamestown, Roanoke and Salem colonies in 1700's America. "Usually it's only not knowing about their problem that the problem really manifests. And it's pretty universal.

Prof. Smithee says the disease crosses the boundaries of race, age, education, and even gender. "Women get it, men get it. Sometimes someone has it, loses it and gets it again. People often get it when they age, but sometimes the reverse happens," Prof. Smithee said. "Someone's born with it every minute on average, and most don't even know they have it until it causes a problem."

Though RCD is a very real condition, Prof. Smithee told me, not much is known it's effects. "They could be making very bad decisions for what seem like very good reasons. These editing and validating processes help us solve problems, even though they slow us down. RCD sufferer miss shades of color due to their condition which can cause serious confusion, hurt feelings, or poorly chosen words. It's difficult to live with undiagnosed RCD."

What should people who see the "dreaded green square" do, I asked Professor Smithee. He assured me it was nothing to worry about. "Once you realize you have it, a few minutes of Internet research will explain the condition and how to be sure it doesn't effect you adversely again in the future. A little information goes a long way to fighting RCD. It's been on the decline steadily since the late 1700's and we may see the end of it in our lifetimes."

"Simply realizing you have it is the first step toward a cure."

Dr. Sudot Oehnym is our Science and Technology Correspondent and has a Masters Degree in Tech Studies from the University of Phoenix. If you have a question about Science or this article, he can be reached by e-mail at'

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