Which orange circle is bigger, the one on the left or the right?

If you were playing golf and the orange circles were the holes on the putting green, which hole would you put money on that you could make in one shot? Bigger is better, right? Well, would you believe the orange circles are both the same size? Yes, they most certainly are. This is a popular size illusion, our perception of the center circle is influenced by the context of its surroundings. Today I am over at Scientific American talking about a recent study that uses this very size illusion to change a person’s athletic performance. Interesting how one’s perception might make or break whether or not they get in the winner’s circle.

On the Open Road...

Out On the Open Road...

As my eyes peer into the rearview mirror, I can not believe how far I have traveled. It was a year ago this month that I made the decision to drive off the beaten path of my blog and see what else is out there. I submitted an article to Scientific American, my article on Chocolate, not Carrots, with a wish and a dream that perhaps they would publish it and it would reach a wider audience. Well, it didn’t get published in print but they did say that it was perfect for their guest blog online. I soon found myself slowly stepping on the accelerator towards my dream of professional writing with a friendly editor at my side in the passenger seat, his foot hovering over his instructor brake. I began listening, learning and sharpening my skills. I felt more and more confident behind the wheel and started to enjoy the scenery that whirled passed my window.

Sometimes the best part of the journey is the people you meet. As I branched out to other publications, I met more and more of the scientific community and the publishing industry. They showed me different roads. I heard all about the trips they have taken, their own goals with writing and spoke with some of the bigshots who were involved with pioneering the trails and maps we are all so desperate to decipher and navigate.

The editors soon let me know it was their stop ahead. And with a polite wave and a nod I left them behind the white line on the side of the highway. Sure, they said they would be back to check in and they would certainly sit shotgun again sometime but the instructor brake vanished before my very eyes.  I have to admit, at times I have missed having a traveling companion and have occasionally found myself staring at the empty seat.

Sometimes in life, you don’t know where the trip will take you. You just set out driving in one direction and hug the double yellow lines, feeling deep down that somehow someway, you’ll get there. To that destination that only seems like a mirage. Inch by inch as the pavement sails beneath you, you are getting there.

Trust in the journey. Trust in yourself. Keep your foot firmly on the accelerator but know when to brake and let someone in for the ride. Enjoy the scenery. The traveling is the best part of the trip. The excitement, the anticipation, the unknown. Savor the stars above you, feel the breeze as you cruise. I like to imagine myself in my dad’s GTO, when it used to be lightning white. The echos of the radio bursting through the tin sounding speakers.

All Revved Up and Ready to Roll...

So, for those of you who think I have forgotten all about my blog, I reassure you I haven’t. I have just been riding down other streets, in other neighborhoods. I love writing and am so grateful for the chance I have gotten to meet people and see places I never dreamed I’d see.

And really my travels have only just begun, so keep following me (but don’t tailgate) and watch me take off.

In the Rearview:

  • I just passed (so watch for) my last articles for 20/20 magazine which will come out in the May issue, The STAYing Power of Lisa Loeb and her glasses and Inspiration of Gigantic Proportions.


Through my windshield now (currently working on):

That’s all I have to report for now. I will be sure to check back in with you later. If you can’t wait until then, feel free to keep tabs on me via Facebook and twitter.

Until, then, the checkered flag is waving….Watch Me Go!

Me and the 20/20 mag crew, photo taken by James Spina, EIC.

I officially served as Guest Editor in Chief at the 20/20 magazine offices today! Had a great time seeing everyone again and spending the day together. I even got to help with some editing for the April issue which was cool for me since I usually only self-edit or look over what other editors changed in my own articles. It was an awesome experience! And it doesn’t end here, I have 4 more days to hang with the 20/20 mag staff at Vision Expo. I will also be writing 3 more articles for 20/20 ‘s May, June and August issues! Yay!

Over the next four days I am taking continuing education classes at Expo on everything from Botox to Glaucoma to Diabetes to Contact Lenses. Not to mention I will be interviewing Lisa Loeb! Exciting days ahead! I am definitely tweeting a ton, I will try to blog as much as possible on here too. Off I go, wish me luck!

"Extra! Extra! My first time published in print! 'Hit Me with Your Best Shots' for 20/20 magazine, hot off the presses!"

In February I “clocked in” as 20/20 magazine’s Guest Editor in Chief for the very first time. They invited me to one of their sun wear photo shoots and it was a blast! While there, James Spina (the actual EIC) told me if I would like to write a quick 200 word piece on my experience at the shoot, he’d publish it for their March issue and I jumped at the chance! You can read the piece entitled ‘Hit Me with Your Best Shots here or in print! He told me to have it for him by Monday but I found myself so rev’d up I wrote it that night and had it in the next morning.

I find that writing comes easier when you are enthusiastically inspired and I was! The people at 20/20 rocked! Literally! From the moment I walked in, I knew I was going to have a great time. Everyone was really nice. The atmosphere oozed creativity and outreach, people flipped through magazines for trend spotting and tweet-pic’d as much of the shoot as possible so readers could see things through their eyes. They danced to their favorite tunes pumping out of the stereo and openly shared ideas and insights on what adjustments needed to be made to showcase the eyewear and models with their best fashion and faces forward.

I am grateful to get to see this side of the eyewear industry that I might have never experienced otherwise. I wanted to share with you my essay, at first I was hesitant but I spoke with everyone at 20/20 about it and they said I could and should and so I will. I really look forward to visiting the offices of 20/20 magazine at the end of March and spending the day in their shoes. I also can not wait for Vision Expo! Here it is:

Out with the New, In with the Old: Styles return us to Innocence

by Cheryl Murphy

Do you remember when people would ask each other ‘how was your day today?’ instead of scrolling through status updates? When tweeting was something only birds did? When ‘words with friends’ literally meant having a conversation with your friends, face to face, in person, instead of on Facebook? When diaries were kept instead of blogs? When you didn’t go to the computer to check the news and weather for the day, you went to the paper on your front door step?

Technology has brought us many cool gadgets and conveniences. It’s expanded our knowledge and made it all easier for us to stay connected to one another and to the world but yet, something seems missing. There is a certain warm nostalgia that seems lost, ‘the good old days,’ a simpler time when things went a little slower and everything seemed a little more pure.

Little reminders and glimpses of yesteryear can be spotted in the comeback of the Cat Eye, Horn-Rimmed, and geek-chic glasses. I love that these have rebounded back into pop culture. It helps me to recognize the times have changed, but the hearts of people haven’t. 



Accompany me on my journey as I “take over” 20/20 magazine at the end of this month, follow me on twitter and facebook and here as I may even do some live blogging?? Would you guys like that?

Thank you for all of your kind congrats and support! I plan to make the most of this amazing opportunity!

Photo by Frank Padrone, Full Circle Photography; all rights reserved, do not copy.

Do you see the world through rose colored glasses or want it painted black? Would you believe it’s possible your vision can be influenced by your playlist?

Here is my article on Scientific American today  discussing how a study in the Netherlands found that subjects’ visual perception changed depending on the mood of music they were listening to. This topic was especially fascinating because I think music is something we all connect with on a very deep and personal level. It can comfort us when we are feeling blue and helps us to jump up and dance when we feel like celebrating but do we really understand all of the ways it can affect us? Apparently not, we have much to learn.

This was such a fun topic to read about and research and it will definitely be on my “one to watch” list. I’ll look for more studies in the future which may reveal more clues about how music affects our vision and the way we see the world. In the meantime, the next time you hit PLAY, don’t forget to switch it up a little (some upbeat tunes should be mixed in there). If all of your music has a sullen, sad tone, it may cast a shadow on how you visually perceive things. Perhaps Bobby said it best, “don’t worry, be happy.”

Head over to Scientific American online to read it now! Enjoy!

Good Times 30,000

Capturing the Moments!

So much excitement lately, I can hardly believe it is all really happening.

First off, I went to an amazing event at the American Museum of Natural History hosted by AMNH and Sci Am called the Beyond Planet Earth tweetup! Needless to say it was out of this world! I got to meet a few of the editors at Sci Am that I have always dreamed of shaking hands with and the event and presentations themselves were absolutely incredible, you can check out the photoblog and beautiful pictures taken by Erica Angiolillo here.  It was a fantastic night, though a bit cold, for strolling the streets around the museum, which Erica and I did mainly because we could not find the correct museum entrance to the event but nonetheless, we had fun and she got some gorgeous shots!

Second, I have been invited to go to a photo shoot NEXT WEEK for 20/20 magazine! I am going to be headed to a studio in Manhattan to get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at some killer eyewear and perhaps even a possibility of some cat eye glasses being modeled. I am in heaven! And you know what else? You are coming with me! I will be tweeting and tweetpic-ing, facebooking and blogging away my little adventure in the big city. I would have never thought I would ever get invited to attend a fashion photo shoot, as an optometrist and a blogger it just really doesn’t seem to be in the cards of my career but it seems lady luck has dealt me a winning hand and I can’t wait to soak in this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

The third thing I wanted to tell you about is, though I have been trying to give myself a little bit of a break from writing this month, my blog has reached 30,000 views! I am overwhelmed and so happy! I have been fiercely writing for Sci Am, Review of Optometric Business, Scientopia and Review of Optometry (my article on TIA and stroke is being published in that journal next month) for the last 7 months or so and figured it was time for me to take a brief break (2-3 weeks or so) and just take it all in. It has been very, very hard for me not to pitch another idea for an article and I actually have one I am trying to resist pitching at the moment because I think it’s important for me to take a step back, breath and just celebrate for a little while.

That said, next week you know I will be writing and blogging away regarding the 20/20 magazine photo shoot! I can hardly wait! Be sure to follow me on both Twitter and Facebook, that is where I will be posting pics and tweets like crazy next Wednesday!

Until then… sincere thanks and feel free to topic-request me!

Cheryl Murphy OD


"I'm sorry, what?"

This week I am over at Scientific American on their guest blog talking about a new study that came out in 2011 demonstrating for the first time a phenomenon known as “inattentional deafness.” It seems when we are very focused on something visually, we tend to “block out” sounds surrounding us that are not relevant to the visual task at hand.

In other words, ever wonder why your kids don’t answer you while you repeatedly call them for dinner? If they are playing their favorite video game then they may have been so busy processing the detailed information of the game that their ears were put on mute to lessen their sensory perceptual load.

See they’re good kids after all, it’s not that they are not listening, it’s just that they sincerely didn’t hear you.

Researchers think that the relationship of perceptual load between vision and hearing is very important and it may affect other aspects of our everyday lives such as driving a motor vehicle. They think if you are distracted by taking in all the information and images on a visually loaded billboard on the side of the highway, you might unintentionally ignore the sound of a car horn or an emergency vehicle.

I will be sure to keep an eye on the research for more studies on inattentional deafness. It’s a great example of ‘science hidden in plain sight!’