Much of what we are going to do on-line for our anthropology courses is "fieldwork" via video materials from around the world. (Remember the main characteristics of American Anthropology from Week 1? One of the main characteristics is doing, and love of doing, fieldwork.)
Before watching the class videos it would be a good time to do four things:
(1) Re-read the "An Important Note on Videos and Visual Anthropology" information from Week 1.
(2) If you haven't already done so, be sure to take the Selective Attention Test developed by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris. This should give you a little insight into the nature of observing—which lies at the very heart of anthropological fieldwork.
When you take this test be sure to try your very best to follow the instructions.
It's short (less than a minute and a half).
Selective Attention Test
by Daniel Simons
(It too is short: 1:42)
(4) After you have taken Simon and Chabris' tests, think about how what you learned from them about perception might be applied as you view the videos for the rest of the semester—and food behaviors in real life as you roam the world thereafter.
The main purpose of this exercise is to sensitize you to the fact that everyone views things selectively—quite naturally, and maybe even by necessity. And one's culture plays a huge role in what one "sees" and focuses on (and what one doesn't see and focus on). American men, for e.g., most often do not "see" many details of clothing, color, and personal stylistic adornment (read hair styles, nail treatment, cosmetic adornments and the like).
To view things as a trained observer— as anthropologists must do when they're in the field "doing" anthropology—one must almost constantly be aware of this natural/cultural tendency to perceive things selectively, and try to compensate for it by paying attention to items not otherwise selected for, while at the same time being careful "not to miss anything".
Hopefully, this exercise will make you just a little more critical in the way you look at things—and especially the class videos—for the rest of the semester (and maybe even for the rest of your life, for that matter).
You are not expected anything to submit anything—no reaction, or report, or forum posting. This is a "re-vision" activity, and it should benefit you in performing well in the exams and overall for the course. And hopefully it will also help on your way to having a genuine anthropological perspective on life in general. . . .