Current Events #6

Eyes are windows to the mind

By Misty Harris, Canwest News ServiceApril 10, 2010

Maybe Kenny Rogers isn’t a gambler after all.

Knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em is all about reading people, and new research finds that subtle eye movements can actually reveal the specific numbers that others are thinking about.

In the study, which appears in the journal Current Biology, people were asked to state a random series of 40 numbers between one and 30 while their vertical and horizontal eye positions were measured. Using only the direction and size of each movement as a guide, researchers were able to predict, with reliable confidence, what each number was before it was spoken.

The results strongly suggest mind-reading is more science than parlour trick.

“We wanted to investigate whether the eyes provide a window into the workings of the mind,” says study co-author Tobias Loetscher. “Furthermore, we wanted to see whether there’s a connection between abstract thinking and the body’s interaction with the world.”

The answer to both questions, it turns out, is yes.

Loetscher, a neuropsychology researcher at the University of Melbourne, reports that when the eye shifted left and downward, it indicated the next number spoken would be smaller than the last, while an upturn to the right shift meant it would be larger.

“When we think of numbers, we automatically code them in space, with smaller numbers falling to the left and larger numbers to the right,” he explains. “Intriguingly, these shifts of the ‘mind’s eye’ seem to be reflected in real eye movements.”

Incredibly, the degree to which these subtle changes in eye position occurred was precisely correlated with the number chosen, though this scale varied by individual. A leftward movement of one degree, for example, could mean a nine for some people but a three for others.

“This variation between people is, of course, devastating when you need to know the exact value — as in card games,” says Loetscher. “But I agree, it sounds like a fantastic party trick.”

Loetscher proposes the research has implications for stroke rehabilitation with patients whose hemispatial neglect — a condition affecting about 45 per cent of people who’ve suffered a stroke in the right side of their brain — causes them to disregard the left side of their bodies and their environment.

The theory is that small numbers, which have a strong left-association, could be used to cue people who are oblivious to their left side, ultimately teaching them to unconsciously shift attention to the neglected spatial region.

A Canadian psychologist believes there are also “groundbreaking” implications for deception research because the study proves the eyes can divulge very specific covert knowledge with the use of high-resolution measurement tools.

“Liars tend to overcompensate by controlling their every movement and looking the listener in the eye more than they normally would,” says Stephen Porter, director of the Centre for the Study of Psychology and Law at the University of British Columbia.

“However, certain aspects of non-verbal behaviour are impossible to control because of the direct link between emotion and brain processes.

I chose this article because i think it finally brings truth to when people say ” eyes are the windows to your soul. ” This article kind of only talks about playing poker and such, but it even proves that with certain eye movements, you can tell what someone has. And it even proves that liars over-comepensate and tend to pay more attention than they probably should be. I believe this is totally true, because if someones lying to you, and you`re aware of it, they tend to act different, and sometimes, their pupils also tend to dilate. I found this article very interesting .

One thought on “Current Events #6

  1. 16/25

    Just far to brief with your analysis of the article. You’re capable of getting 100% on this type of assignment but just haven’t done the work.

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