Five Ways Your Brain Is Messing With Your Head

A funny little piece about some of the ways our brains don't work like we think they do:

Change blindness

Scientists...ran experiments where they'd have a guy manning the counter at an office serving students, while another guy was hidden below the counter. A student would walk up and request a form, and the guy would say sure and duck down behind the counter to get it.

But then second guy, the one who had been hiding, would pop up and say, "ah, here it is." This second guy would look completely different, and would be wearing completely different colored clothing, and most of the students would not freaking notice it was a different guy than the one they had been talking to five seconds ago.
Far creepier is the bit magician Derren Brown does:

Saccadic Masking

Flick your eyes over to the wall again. Notice you didn't get that nauseating, blurred image of the room zooming past your eye? That's because of saccadic masking.

In order to bring you this completely awe-inspiring view of what we're guessing is your cubicle wall right now, your brain rapidly moves your eyes without asking, in the neighborhood of three to five times per second. That's in addition to the times you move your eyes consciously, to look at the clock or the wall just now. To prevent your world from looking like the jerky Cloverfield camcorder all day, your brain shuts down your optic nerve while your eye is in motion.

The spooky part is the way your brain prevents you from noticing the blackness that occurs several times a second, every moment you use your eyes. Estimates vary somewhat, but it's likely that you're spending somewhere around 40 minutes a day with your eyes wide open, and totally blind.


The best example we've found so far is "the Pinocchio illusion." Scientists have found they can have the subject touch the tip of their nose with their finger, and have their bicep or triceps electrically stimulated at the same time. Your brain "feels" your arm muscle extending, but also feels that you're maintaining contact with the tip of your nose, and leaps to the immediate, yet fully sober, conclusion that your nose has suddenly grown to be about three feet long.

Subconscious behavior AKA best guessing

Scientists recently found out that if they hook your brain up to a scanner and then ask you to make a decision, a part of your brain lights up to take action several seconds before you consciously make the decision. So when you're working out in your head whether or not to go to work tomorrow, a part of your brain has already decided to call in sick, several seconds before the voice in your head arrives at that same conclusion.

That's right: If somebody had electrodes hooked to your brain, they could tell you--with 100% accuracy--what decision you'll make a few seconds from now. Now think about what that means for free will, and prepare to have your mind blown.

Read the whole article here: 5 Ways Your Brain Is Messing With Your Head |

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