Past Experiences Shape What We See More Than What We Are Looking At Now

It turns out what you currently see is influenced by past experiences more than what you’re actually looking at. Researchers from the NYU School of Medicine showed 19 participants 33 obscured images (black and white and degraded until they were difficult to recognize), 17 of animals and 16 of man-made objects. They viewed each of the blurred images six times, then a corresponding clear version of the same image, and then blurred images again six times after. As the subject attempted to recognize each image they had their brains scanned. After seeing the clear version of each image, the participants were more than twice as likely to recognize what they were looking at when again shown the obscured version as they were of recognizing it before seeing the clear version. Study author Dr. Biyu He explains, “The work […] supports the theory that what we recognize is influenced more by past experiences than by newly arriving sensory input from the eyes.