Imagine two identical groups of kittens. We’ll call them vertical kittens and horizontal kittens because of how they are to be raised. The vertical kittens are raised in a world that only contains vertical lines. Their cages are lined with vertically striped wallpaper; even the people who feed them wear shirts with vertical stripes. The horizontal kittens are only ever exposed to horizontal lines. Horizontal lines are all they see. You may by now recognize this story as one of the foundational experiments in neurobiology, but let’s go back to the cats.
After a predetermined period of time, the horizontal kittens are presented with a chair. They see the seat, and jump to sit. No problem. But they repeatedly walk into the legs. They simply don’t see them. The vertical kittens are presented with the same chair. They can’t find a place to sit — they are blind to the horizontal seat — but will happily weave in between the vertical legs…..more