When a person interacts with the immediate external environment, they utilize the seven senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, hearing, vestibular and proprioceptive senses. One is a complement to the rest of the senses, and ultimately, it is through these senses that we are able to function and respond appropriately to our environment.
Vision is one of the richest senses that happen to cross both gray and white matter, and one that requires all of the brain to give ‘meaning’ and attach this ‘meaning’ to an emotion. It touches all of the cerebrum before it gets completely processed by the Occipital Lobe.
We have a responsibility, especially to the young humans in our lives, to consciously select the visual stimulation we are viewing and/or exposing others to. In no way, can we or should we eliminate exposure to the 24/7 media that proliferate nearly all aspects of living in the twenty-first century. However, we do have some control over the reading material, games (video vs. educational) and outings ( movies vs. museums) to name a few. These experiences are processed in all areas of our brains before we have even visually processed the image in our occipital lobe.
When video games became a part of mainstream culture and presented as mostly games focused on violence, social psychology professor Dr. Bushman began investigating the effects of excessive exposure to these video games. He and his colleagues have found that exposure to violent video games increases aggressive behavior as well as
desensitize players to violence, which leads to an increase in aggressive behavior. It goes without saying that these experiences, which are highly visual, are leading to negative emotions. Furthermore, the opposite has also been proven: exposure to images that may be classified as serene or non-stressful, reduce stress, which can indirectly lead to positive emotions.
Creating environments with visually positive imagery can then plausibly decrease cortisol and other stress-related hormones from flooding our brains. This in turn will keep our pre-frontal cortex functioning, since cortisol is known to block access to it, sending us into fight, flight or freeze mode.
Imagine the possibilities of streaming the visual processing skill with positive, stress reducing imagery on the state of consciousness–not only for the individual, but for the those that individual interacts with!