The mind is easy to trick: We think that focus helps to clarify what we're seeing, but a new study proves that it also has the ability to distort
According to new research, when we're told to pay attention to specific events in the world, our minds may not record reality as accurately as we would like. This could have big implications for activities that involve making decisions based on external actions and events.
"Figuring out where objects are in the world seems like one of the most basic and important jobs the brain does," says Brandon Liverence, a graduate student at Yale University. "It was surprising to discover that even this simple type of perception is warped by our minds." Liverence and his team had participants focus on two circles out of a group of four circles. The circles all moved and changed color, and the participant were asked to click a key when either of the two target circles turned red or blue.
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When the trial (which only lasted a few seconds) was over, the circles all disappeared, and the participants were then asked to choose the locations that last contained the target circles.