How Sight Affects Our Actions : Hidden Brain Some challenges feel insurmountable. But psychologist Emily Balcetis says the solutions are often right in front of our eyes. This week, as part of our annual series on personal growth and reinvention, Emily explains how we can harness our sight to affect our behavior.
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You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

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You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

You 2.0: The Mind's Eye

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/900994753/900994779" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A runner crosses the finish line.
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Many idioms in English draw a connection between what we see and what we do. We're told, "Keep your eye on the prize." "Set your sights high." "I saw that coming."

Emily Balcetis, a psychology professor at New York University, knows that there's a deep truth to these sayings. As she shows in her book Clearer, Closer, Better: How Successful People See The World, our visual system and our behavior are linked. We can use our sight, she says, to help us make better decisions and reach our goals.

"A hidden secret about goal pursuit is that what we see is really tied to what we think, what we decide and what we do," she says.

She lays out specific strategies for making the most of our sense of sight. In some situations, it makes sense to narrow our focus. At other times, the key is to change what's in our line of sight, or to make our abstract choices tangible — choices we can see, even feel.

This week on Hidden Brain, in the second episode of our annual You 2.0 series, we look at how we can use visual perception to change our reality.

Additional Resources:

"From Thought to Action: Effects of Process-Versus Outcome-Based Mental Simulations on Performance" by Lien B. Pham and Shelley Taylor in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1999.

"See What You Want to See: Motivational Influences on Visual Perception" by Emily Balcetis and David Dunning in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2006.