You might be right on on your suggestion of opening up deep shadows. In this particular print (that I'm having problems with), there are deep, featureless shadows in the key area. Yes, it was a brightly lit scene. I dodged it somewhat but I'm going to do some more and see how it works out. I am working with matte surface paper (FB) so "deep black" isn't that deep. Nevertheless, there isn't sufficient details there. That might very well be the problem.

I would very much like to take classes on visual perception if such thing is offered.....

Thank you for your detailed response.