The reality we live in is very much based on our perception of it. It’s not a new thing to hear that every person lives in their own reality, and that perception is highly individualized.
The question is, how different of a reality do open-minded and creative people perceive? According to a study done by researchers at Melbourne University, the reality these people perceive is very different.
And this perception is not only a psychologically-based one. The research team has found a fundamental difference in visual perception among the participants who scored high on the openness test.
In an article which describes the study, authors Luke Smillie and Anna Antinori explain that open people possess the “curiosity to examine things from all angles,” and this gives them the ability to see more than the average person.
To discover just how differently open people perceive reality, the participants were given the binocular rivalry test, in which two different images are placed in front of each eye, like a red patch on one eye and a green patch on the other.
The average person will see the images flip from one to another intermittently, making the observer see either green or red every moment. However, the participants who were more open-minded managed to merge the two images into a “fused or scrambled combination.”
As the authors explain, “the creative tendencies of open people extend all the way down to basic visual perception. Open people may have fundamentally different visual experiences to the average person.”
Some see it, some don’t – open-minded and creative people always do
To further examine the perceptual abilities of these people, a follow-up study decided to see how much inattentional blindness affects them. Inattentional blindness is a perceptual phenomenon where a person fails to perceive something because they are focusing on something else.
The participants were given this video to watch. Here’s a little extra: try to see how open-minded you are! However, don’t read further before watching the video.
Many of the participants failed to notice the gorilla beating its chest in the middle of the room, but some of them didn’t.
These some were the ones who scored high on the openness test, showing that open-minded and creative people seem impervious to perceptual glitches.
“Once again, it seems that more visual information breaks through into conscious perception for people high in openness — they see the things that others screen out,” explain the authors.
Open people do see the world differently – and thus live in a different reality. And perhaps this different kind of perception is what allowed the greatest minds in the world to come up with the most brilliant conclusions, inventions, and whatnot.
And the best thing about it? Everybody can broaden their mind if they are willing.
Source: The Conversation