“On the same wavelength with the brain”: what you can hear and see – according to tips from pop culture

We discuss what can influence our perception, and how it can surprise. We look at various experiments and effects that have managed to gain a foothold in popular culture.

Photo: @theeastlondonphotographer.  Source: unsplash.com
Photo: @theeastlondonphotographer. Source: unsplash.com

Dream machine

The brain is able to generate amazing images – to draw unusual visual and sound pictures both in a dream and in reality, and the latter option does not always imply medication “help”. To see, hear and feel something unusual, it is enough to know the basic laws that govern the system of interpretation of sensory data – our perception. Of course, it demonstrates individual characteristics for everyone, and science cannot yet answer many questions related to the operation of this mechanism. But the current knowledge and practical experience in this area are so curious that they have long ago become an integral part of culture – popular music, books, films and TV shows. Take at least perceptual deprivation effect

It takes effect when a person sees a homogeneous space or a so-called “field” for a long time. In this case, he can observe various color flashes and geometric shapes. A similar principle works “dip program“, Invented by Sergei Lukyanenko so that the heroes of his works would use it as”brain machine”And immersed themselves in virtual reality with the help of a changing visual range. By the way, this effect was described several decades before – in the novels of William Burroughs, who is considered one of the inspirers “dream machines“. They, in turn, have been mentioned many times in literature and pop culture, like other variations “flashing ganzfeld“.

Very strange things

The feel-like “exhaust” gives sensory deprivation effect, based on preventing any impact on one or more sense organs

In simple terms, a sleep mask and noise canceling headphones are also to some extent self-assignment tools that allow you to disconnect from the hubbub and bright light. In a more “hardcore” version, these are anechoic chambers, where you can not only hear the sound of your own breathing, but also the creak of the joints, and sometimes the pulsation of the arteries. If you are in such a space for too long, someone hears and more exciting things like the buzzing of bees or the compositions of familiar artists.

Photo: @galen_crout.  Source: unsplash.com
Photo: @galen_crout. Source: unsplash.com

Sensory deprivation cameras familiar to some treatment lovers floatation and also representing a reservoir, but already tightly isolated from the influx of light, sounds and smells, were first tested in the mid-1950s by inventors… In the 70s, scientists studied their therapeutic properties, and the last notable appearance of such attitudes in pop culture is associated with the famous TV series “Very strange things“. One of its main heroines, possessing telepathic abilities, involuntarily becomes a participant in a secret program that resembles something like “MK-Ultra“. The action takes place in a closed laboratory, where they are trying to intercept the reconnaissance of the Soviet special services, and in order to enhance the capabilities of the girls, they use just a similar sensor deprivation camera.

What can we say about TV shows and films, when the author of a sensational podcast, sold to a well-known streaming service for one hundred million dollars, I decided at some point experience the effects of a sensory deprivation camera. Who knows, suddenly it was she who influenced his entrepreneurial qualities, but he himself then said that “in terms of personal growth and self-development” she made an incredible contribution to his life. Of course, long before Joe Rogan, other celebrities did this as well – from John Lennon and Richard Feynman, who was familiar with the inventor of the first camera, to Stephen Curry and other sports stars.

As the peaceful experiments popsci-journalists, it is possible to achieve visual and other unusual sensations from the impact of this effect on our perception with improvised means: you just need an A4 sheet, earplugs and a few minutes of waiting. The main thing is not to forget about the contraindications associated with the risk of an epileptic seizure. The likelihood of such a development of events is negligible, but it is still not worth overdoing it – any excessive stimulation may not please even a healthy and strong body. Although in some cases and under the supervision of medical specialists, a point “rhythmic” effect on certain parts of the brain, on the contrary, can facilitate various states of dissociation in patients with epilepsy, but this is already completely other story

Make it brighter

Italian specialists from the University of Urbino managed achieve dissociation effect without any “props” at all. They sat two dozen test subjects in a dimly lit room and asked them to look each other in the eye.

Photo: @mathieustern.  Source: unsplash.com
Photo: @mathieustern. Source: unsplash.com

It took only ten minutes for noticeable changes in perception: 90% of the participants in the experiment saw distortions on the face of the opposite person; 75% admitted that they saw “something otherworldly”, and half – began to recognize their own facial features or even their relatives in strangers. Perhaps this is why in classrooms and lectures where the audience needs to maintain eye contact with the teacher or speaker, it is worth paying increased attention to lighting, and not just how the speech is heard.

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