Experts from the United States set out to find out whether a person, being in complete darkness and, moreover, with an opaque blindfold over his eyes, is able to see his own hands without using real vision and relying only on the unconscious activity of the brain. Moreover, to observe this effect, no special equipment is required.
Scientists have tried to find out how often and under what conditions people see a barely noticeable silhouette of their hands even when it is completely dark around and real vision is not in demand in principle.
According to Eurekalert, 129 people participated in the experiment. Each of them had to wear two different types of headbands. One type allegedly blocked the light completely, while the second blocked it almost completely. According to legend, this was required to study the perception of moving objects in low light conditions.
Each participant was then asked to hold their own hand in front of their eyes and describe the sensations. As it turned out, some of the subjects saw a fuzzy silhouette of a hand, while in fact the blindfolds on their eyes were completely opaque.
These readings could be attributed to errors in the course of the experiment, but, according to scientists, such an assumption is not able to explain why those who received translucent, translucent dressings that let in a little light saw their hands more often than those who got completely opaque ones.
After going through various options and repeating the experiment several times with different groups of subjects, the scientists came to the conclusion that the probability of "seeing" their hand depends on the expectations of the participants.
Also, the researchers put some of the participants in the experiment in a completely dark room and repeated the experiment there using a special infrared system that monitored the movement of the subjects' eyes. These observations showed that if you hold something else in front of your eyes, for example, the hand of a specialist or a cardboard silhouette of a hand, then people see absolutely nothing, and their eyes do not move after a foreign object.
If the subjects were told that they were in a poorly lit room, then they also saw their hands more often than those who knew that there was no light in the room at all.
For the purity of the experiment, scientists involved in it a person who has different feelings mixed with each other, the so-called synesthete. For this role, Lindsay Bronnenkant, a laboratory assistant at the University of Rochester, who has a phenomenon of perception - synesthesia, came up.
The letters and numbers for Bronnenkant are individually colored. During the experiment, she described not just a fuzzy shadow, but a full-fledged silhouette against the background of a weak light source.
Other synesthetes, which had to be searched for in several countries around the world, reported similar sensations. They saw the movements of their hands much more clearly in the dark, claiming that they could distinguish between individual fingers, and not just blurry outlines of hands.
In addition, observations of the movement of the eyes of the synesthetes showed differences from the reaction of the eyes of ordinary people: the synesthetes followed the hand with their eyes in complete darkness, as smoothly as if the hand was visible to them in the light.
In contrast, ordinary subjects had a sharp gaze that followed the hand. This was due to the fact that the brain did not receive visual information from the retina and was not able to provide continuous tracking of the hand.
According to scientists, the phenomenon of "false vision" revealed in the course of the experiment will make it possible to better understand how, through the brain, a person perceives the world around him through his mental and physical sensations and correlates the information received from different senses.