Examples of the ways in which our brain distorts the reality

We are used to rely on our brain as on the most complex computer that have ever been present on earth, however, it is not ideal at all. The ways in which the human brain is processing the information about the world sometimes leads to absolutely unexpected conclusions which actually create our own vision of the world. Check some of the examples of this phenomenon and you will see why the claim that everyone sees the world through the prism of one’s own reality is true.

Our memories are constantly changing

You might think nothing can be more solid than the memories of some life-changing events that happened to us in the past. Undeniably, we might not be able to recall the exact dates during the exam on history no matter how hard we were studying or we might be constantly forgetting the dates of birth of our friends and relatives. Yet, it seems like some particular events are thus important for us that nothing can change the memories of them.

Still, the memory of people doesn’t work in such a way. What really happens is that the brain turns on some particular memories whenever we are thinking about them but it is not the same as with opening and rereading a book which we read before. In fact, the way our brain is processing this memory more resembles of rewriting the same book as if you are trying to write down what you have remembered while reading it for the first time.

Taking this fact into consideration, you can easily come up with the idea how it affects our memories. Actually, after such a procedure we get memories of our own memories rather than the memories of the events themselves. As a result, they can be easily distorted.

Furthermore, our brain tends to create memories of something we have never experienced at all. The best example of this are multiple memories of our childhood which are actually based exclusively on the stories we heard from our relatives or the photos and videos of that period which we had an occasion to see. It turns out that this information is enough for creating a separate memory and we will believe wholeheartedly we really remember it.

Unfortunately, it also means that someone intentionally can make us believe in something which has never happened to us as well.

We can easily neglect something occurring right in front of our eyes

Focusing on some particular activity which is rather important to us can make us literally blind. This was proved by numerous tests and one of the most notable of them was the one in which a group of participants was asked to count the number basketball players during a game. Since the majority of the participants were really absorbed into the test they totally fail to notice a person strolling right in front of them wearing a gorilla costume.

Needless to say, something like this happens a lot in our daily life as well.

Phantom limbs and rubber hands

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is a strong connection between each part of our body and the brain. Brain is keeping a track of the spatial position of each of our limb simultaneously which is extremely important for our health and the ability to perform well-coordinated moves.

Still, for some people this becomes a real problem, for instance, for people whose limb were amputated. Their brain can distort their reality up to such an extent, that they start feeling so-called phantom limbs or imaginary limbs which are now in the place of the amputated parts of the body. Although, some people have a chance to experience pleasant sensations generated by their brain which still believes the removed limb is in its place, but usually the sensations are of excruciating pain.

Moreover, not only the patients who lost their hands or legs can still feel their presence. One of the most crucial experiments conducted in this area showed that people can feel physical sensations even when someone touches an object resembling their limb. In this case, the scientists put a rubber hand near the hand of participants and covered both of the hands with a piece of cloth so as it would be difficult to distinguish visually where the real one is and where the rubber hand is. Interestingly, the sensations of touching the rubber hand were the same as the sensations of touching the real hand for the participants.

Vision connected to other senses

Our vision affects our understanding of the world in quite interesting ways. For instance, the appearance of food and drinks can change the way in which we are experiencing their taste.

One of the experiments highlighting this feature of our brain asked the participants to try white wine and describe it. The description included all the characteristics typical for white wine. Yet, when the researchers changed the colour of the wine into red, the participants suddenly found its taste similar to the taste of red wine.

Katie Miller

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