Our brains don’t think in text. Not even in sound or image. Our brains think in abstract concepts related to each other. These can be trees, animals, or humans. But even so cars, skyscrapers or pencil sharpeners. Or, a little bit more abstract again, brands, relationships, or formulas. And those abstract concepts can all be related to each other. You think of one thing, you automatically think of another. And those connections can also have a special meaning (a concept in itself) through which for example we can imagine ‘John’s car’.
Our brains however are not designed for possession relationships, but for surviving in nature. As an individual, and as a species. We have been optimized for that. Thus are senses and brains are very keen on detecting dangers. Not surprisingly we can’t see very well, but we do very quickly observe changes in images, hear changing sounds, or smell changing smells. For that we are completely optimized. And besides we know where to place those observations in relation to ourselves: is the sound coming from the front, from the rear, or from the right? The same goes for visible movements. Where do we stand in relation to the abstract concept we just very quickly constructed in our heads? This is absolutely necessary to be able to react well.
A psychotherapy technique that thankfully uses this wisdom is ‘family constellations’. In this method it is possible to have abstract concepts in the heads of patients imitated by physical people. Thus an actor can play the role of ‘the colleague’, another person plays ‘the work’, and a third one ‘the relationship’. In most cases even more people are involved. Then in the 3D situation interesting situations can occur, in which also the feeling of the actors plays an important role. In the brand world this technique is used a lot too, under the name brand constellations. Through this method it becomes clear how three-dimensional we actually think.
After the art of printing had been invented, learning in 3D (imitating our teachers) was completely forgotten (although in some cultures, like Japan, teacher-student education is still valued high). Reading brought us a lot, but our brains kept thinking in 3D images. Genetically nothing changes. The radio play and later television already were kind of satisfying, but the future will bring the real change. Gaming is key there. In today’s games (and the upcoming virtual worlds) we already see the 3D trend come back more and more realistically: the better the graphics, the more it looks like the real world, the better. E-learning environments too have this goal. There, situations which are now way too dangerous, way too expensive, or way too labor intensive are imitated. These developments feed the 3D trend. All virtual experiences, including for example visiting websites (which are now almost always 2D), develop to become 3D. Not because it is technically possible to do so, but because 3D thinking is completely in line with the human functioning. This trend too is totally clear.
Latest observations for More 3D
MakerBot’s 3D scanner prototype lets you replicate realworld objects
Google Streetview shows you 3D path
Allard Pierson Museum uses 3d projection
Contacts with display
VisionClinics uses images
3DFoot scans your feet
Make 3D images of your own photos
Disney World in Google Earth
NS tests stations with virtual world