50% of people can see in the dark
At least half of the population may have the ability to see in the dark, according to a new study.
The research, published in the journal Psychological Science, aimed to objectively measure the ability to see in the dark and find out whether people who have claimed to possess this ability are accurately reporting what they are visualizing.
Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee conducted experiments on 129 people from New York, Tennessee, Michigan and South Korea.
The participants in this study were all people with synesthesia, which means that they have “blended senses” and can, for example, see, hear music or experience taste when they hear sounds and see numbers or letters in specific colors.
In the first experiment, participants were blindfolded and were told that they would see “motion under low lighting conditions.” In a second experiment, the same participants wore the same blindfolds and were told they would see nothing.
In both experiments, the blindfolded participants were told to wave their own hands in front of the blindfolds and to report whether they could see their hands. They were also told to report whether they saw when researchers waved their hands in front of the participants’ blindfolded eyes. Researchers told the participants that the blindfolds had holes, when in reality they did not, in order to create “false expectations.”
Researchers found that about 50 percent of the participants were able to detect their own hand movements consistently. However, the participants reported seeing no movement when the researchers waved their hands in front of the participants’ faces.
Findings suggest that people with synesthesia may be better able to see self-motion in the dark than people without it. However, seeing in total darkness does not typically happen, according to the current understanding of natural vision, researchers said.
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