Our Brains Haven’t Evolved To Handle Stripes

Stripes are apparently an issue for our brains. Researchers report in the journal Current Biology that just looking at the rigid, geometric pattern of stripes—even still images of them—affects our brain in a way that in extreme cases can produce seizures and migraines. Objects as seemingly innocuous as radiator grills “can be provocative,” one expert tells the Telegraph, and patients with pattern-sensitive epilepsy have to cover them as a preventive measure. While the exact reason why is still a mystery, scientists say that stripe patterns increase our brains’ gamma oscillations, which are linked to both headaches and seizures. One hypothesis is that because the “extreme regularity” of things like blinds and escalators does not exist in nature—even the stripes of zebras aren’t perfectly patterned—our brains have not evolved to cope with them. (Newser