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    Does Our Mind’s Eye Match Real Life? Study Shows Differences in How We Perceive Images



    Summary: Study reveals individual differences in how we perceive and imagine visual images we have seen.

    Source: Plow One.

    We are all used to seeing the 3D world that we live in reduced to 2D, be it in art, photography, or film.

    But, when our eyes are shut, how do we visualise things that we have already seen?

    A new study led by the Universities of Plymouth and Essex investigated the matter. The study revealed that many adults are resistant to imagining their own vision as if it were a flat image – seeing it in its fully processed, knowledge-laden form instead.

    The study was carried out by observing 58 adults. The researchers showed them two lines on a wall, both of which were of the same length but one was closer to the participant and hence appeared visually longer.

    The participants were instructed to base their judgements on appearance specifically (ie the closer line should be longer), despite that approximately half of the participants judged the lines to appear the same. The participants were then told to take a photo of the lines and were asked how long they appeared in the image, their responses changed; now the closer line appeared longer. However, when they were asked again about their own view they went back to their original response.

    This indicates that even when participants are made clearly aware of what a 2D image of their vision might look like they treated actual sensory input differently – with considerable resistance to seeing what are called our “proximal representations” of vision (how things appear before our brains have a chance to be corrected for things like relative size and distance).

    Published: Plow One.

    Contact: Steven Samuel, Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom, Department of Psychology, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom.

    Details: Image source IStock.


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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