0.1 seconds into the future

0.1 seconds into the future.  That’s how ling it will be until some woo attempts to misuse this quote to “prove” that science supports his chosen fortune-teller:

“Evolution has seen to it that geometric drawings like this elicit in us premonitions of the near future,” Changizi said. “The converging lines toward a vanishing point (the spokes) are cues that trick our brains into thinking we are moving forward — as we would in the real world, where the door frame (a pair of vertical lines) seems to bow out as we move through it — and we try to perceive what that world will look like in the next instant.”

Of course the actual effect that Changizi’s talking about here is rather neat.  It takes a tenth of a second for us to process ehat we see, and we have evolved to take that delay into account.  So when we’re looking at something, what we see is determined by what our brain thinks we should see a tenth of a second later.  Changizi say that this attempt at prediction fools our brains into accepting many kinds of optical illusions.

So we can predict the future.  It’s just that we’re rather bad at it!

Comments are closed.