"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Why some people see more vivid mental images than others – test yourself here.

Consider the statements below. What do they describe? A visit on psychedelics? A dream?

I spotted I could reach through the screen to go elsewhere.

The lasers became full fans of sunshine sweeping around, after which it felt just like the screen was beginning to expand.

I saw old stone buildings… like a castle… I used to be flying over it.

In fact, these are the statements various people have reported after seeing “Ganzflicker” on their computers – an intense full-screen, red and black flicker. That anyone can access online. and which we use in our experiments. In lower than ten minutes, it produces altered states of consciousness, with no lasting effects on the brain. The visual experiences are almost set as soon as you begin watching it.

But our recent study, Published in Cortex, shows that while some people see castles or fractals in Ganzflicker, others see nothing. We have provide you with a theory about where these individual differences come from.

Like a pc screen, the a part of your brain that processes visual information (the visual cortex) has a refresh “button” that helps it sample the environment. Taking snapshots of the world in quick succession. In other words, your brain gathers sensory information with a certain frequency. Yet you see the world as continuous and dynamic, because of your brain's sophisticated ability to fill within the blanks.

For example, your eyes have a blind spot just outside the middle of vision, but you don't see a speck of ink anywhere you look. Your visual cortex extracts the encircling visual information in order that your entire visual field is visible Looks complete. If the sensory information being processed is ganzflicker, it is going to interact along with your brain's own rhythms to find out the way you fill it in or interpret what you're seeing.

Ganzflicker is thought to elicit the experience of abnormal sensory information within the external environment, called pseudo-hallucinations. “Simple” experiences – like seeing lasers or illusionary colours – have previously been explained as your brain reacting. Clashes between Ganzflicker and brain rhythms. But how do some people perceive complex pseudo-hallucinations comparable to “old stone castles”?

The ability of mental images

The brain consists of many various regions that interact with one another, including “low-level” sensory areas and areas corresponding to “higher-level” cognitive processes. Discriminating whether a line is vertical or horizontal, for instance, is taken into account a low-level sensory process, whereas determining whether a face is friendly or indignant is a high-level cognitive process. The latter is more open to interpretation.

Visual mental imagery, or the mental simulation of sensory information—the “mind's eye”—is certainly one of these higher-level cognitive processes. Higher-level processes can interact with lower-level processes to shape your brain's interpretation of what you're seeing. If an individual sees an easy pseudo-hallucination in Ganzflicker, their mind may routinely interpret the data as more meaningful or realistic than their mind's eye.

Some people cannot see mental images.
Good Ideas/Shutterstock

What most individuals don't realize is that everybody's image is different. For some people, imagery is as vivid as actually seeing something in front of them. A small proportion of individuals have a “blind mind's eye” and can't even see the faces of their friends or family. This condition is named aphantasia, and it has attracted increasing attention previously few years. Many people, in fact, are somewhere between these extremes.

Power of Ganzflicker

Visual experiences are very difficult to explain and compare, because they're private, internal, subjective events. But it seems that Ganzflicker can assist.

We discovered that imagery ability might be demonstrated in the outline of a person's ten-minute experience with Ganzflicker. About half of individuals with aphantasia don't see anything in any respect in Ganz Flickr. The other half features mostly easy patterns comparable to geometric shapes or fantasy colours. Contrast this with individuals with visual mental imagery, for whom the bulk see meaningful complex objects, comparable to animals and faces. Some people even see whole pseudo-illusory environments, like a stormy beach or a medieval castle.

Going back to the thought of ​​brain rhythms, it's possible that individuals who see imagery have an inherently low-frequency rhythm of their visual cortex – closer to the Ganzflicker frequency – which causes them to experience pseudo-hallucinations. grow to be victims of On the opposite hand, individuals with aphantasia have naturally higher frequency rhythms within the visual cortex – which can provide them with a buffer against the consequences of Gains flicker.

Our theory is that mental imagery and hallucinations elicited by Ganzflicker tap the identical processes within the brain. This implies that Ganzflicker captures a dynamic projection of individuals's conceptual experiences, like opening a window within the mind's eye.

Ganzflicker is subsequently a promising tool for understanding individual differences in mental imagery and its interaction with the visual environment.

This experience can assist people share their unique experiences with one another – ultimately bringing subjective experience into the true world.