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alexandra mnuskin's picture

seeing without your eyes

I recently read a study that tested color-word associations. The study found that it took subjects a longer time to read the name of a color when it was printed in a contradictory color. For example it is easier for us to read the word “red” when it actually appears red. If the word “red” is written in green ink however, the time to read it is longer. This study further suggests that in our mind senses are not as clear-cut and separate as they may seem.
I know that in class we went through various senses that we as humans do not possess, because we lack the necessary channels that are sensitive to those stimuli. However it occurs to me to wonder why, if it is possible for the brain to create its own action potentials and stimulus, is it not possible to experience things for which you have no outer receptors. It sounds a little bogus I know…and actually reminds me of one of my favorite children’s stories by Roald Dahl called The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. In it, a man learns to literally see without his eyes. Logically this seems ridiculous…we know that we see with our eyes because we have receptors that are sensitive to light. But on the other hand perhaps this really is just an extreme example of our I-functions. During sleep for example, we are able to see and hear and even taste things without using any of our actual light, sound or chemoreceptors. In class someone mentioned how using certain meditation techniques you can train yourself not to perceive pain. Perhaps it really is possible to train your associations so that you have control over your perceptions.

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