5 Surprising Ways Your Senses Are Lying To You
Your senses give you the only evidence you have that anything around you exists, but that evidence is pretty flimsy, if you ask me. Your senses lie to you all the time; that's just science. In fact, the more you learn about how your sense organs work, the more amazing it is that we're able to function at all. Look at how ...
Your Eyes See Barely Anything At Any One Time
Your eyes feel about as big as they need to be, letting you see mountains, oceans, or your entire mom all at once. Except you're not really seeing much of any of those. The light-sensitive cells in your eyes are mostly concentrated in a section called the fovea, and as we've mentioned before, the fovea is super tiny. Imagine a one-degree-wide cone opening outward from your eye. Everything you see in detail fits in that narrow cone. As proof, keep your eyes totally still and try reading this entire page. You can't. Everything beyond "You can't" is just a blur.
It's just as well that most of your light-sensitive cells (called "cones," not to be confused with the imaginary vision cone from the last paragraph) are all dedicated to the exact thing you're concentrating on, because you don't have many to spare. You have about 6 million cones total, and since each is sensitive to just one primary color, that's the equivalent of about 2 million pixels, or the same as a 1080p image.
A 4K image, by comparison, has 8 million pixels. "Wait," you ask, "then how can I even see 4K?" Answer: You can't. A 4K movie looks good because the tiny section of it you're focusing on at any moment looks awesome, and you don't see the rest in detail. If every bit of the image other than those few centimeters were at a much lower resolution, you wouldn't even notice.
Or take this image:
That is a black-and-white photo with some colored lines laid on top, but you perceive colored clothes, colored seats, etc. If you look closely at any one small part, you will correctly note the gray image and the colored lines, but everything outside your fovea's range is a blur, so your brain mashes it all together. The tiny size of the fovea is also responsible for a lot of classic optical illusions. There's some debate among eye scientists about precisely why it is that you see imaginary gray circles in the intersections of this grid:
But you sure don't see any in the specific intersection you're focusing on. The fovea perceives that one correctly; everything else is deduction based on a blur. And you’ll swear that the following is a GIF, and moving: