June 8, 2009 at 12:47 am #31675
Note: for those who need scientific validation, here it is. Opening your heart and smiling to the world widens your physical vision. Snarling creates tunnel vision. – Michael
PEOPLE WHO WEAR ROSE-COLORED GLASSES SEE MORE, STUDY SHOWS
June 6, 2009
A University of Toronto study provides the first direct evidence that our
mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual
experience suggesting that seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses is
more biological reality than metaphor.
Good and bad moods literally change the way our visual cortex operates and
how we see, says Adam Anderson, a U of T professor of psychology.
Specifically our study shows that when in a positive mood, our visual
cortex takes in more information, while negative moods result in tunnel
vision. The study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The U of T team used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine how
our visual cortex processes sensory information when in good, bad, and
neutral moods. They found that donning the rose-coloured glasses of a good
mood is less about the colour and more about the expansiveness of the view.
The researchers first showed subjects a series images designed to generate a
good, bad or neutral mood. Subjects were then shown a composite image,
featuring a face in the centre, surrounded by place images, such as a
house. To focus their attention on the central image, subjects were asked to
identify the gender of the persons face. When in a bad mood, the subjects
did not process the images of places in the surrounding background.
However, when viewing the same images in a good mood, they actually took in
more information — they saw the central image of the face as well as the
surrounding pictures of houses. The discovery came from looking at specific
parts of the brain — the parahippocampal place area — that are known
to process places and how this area relates to primary visual cortical
responses, the first part of the cortex related to vision.
Under positive moods, people may process a greater number of objects in
their environment, which sounds like a good thing, but it also can result in
distraction, says Taylor Schmitz, a graduate student of Andersons and lead
author of the study. Good moods enhance the literal size of the window
through which we see the world. The upside of this is that we can see
things from a more global, or integrative perspective. The downside is that
this can lead to distraction on critical tasks that require narrow focus,
such as operating dangerous machinery or airport screening of passenger
baggage. Bad moods, on the other hand, may keep us more narrowly focused,
preventing us from integrating information outside of our direct attentional
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