Report: Brain size determines imagination and perception

Whoever said size doesn’t matter obviously isn’t familiar with the most recent findings about the brain’s visual cortex.

Because apparently, the size of your cortex determines how you see the world in terms of perception.

And interestingly enough, one visual cortex can be up to three times bigger than another person of the same age.

Indeed, researchers at University College London ran MRIs while presenting test subjects with multiple optical illusions to figure out exactly how they would perceive each drawing.

They first presented an Ebbinghaus illusion to test subjects asking them which of the two center circles was smaller. 

Most subjects answered the one on the left is smaller, but in fact they were the same size.

Next, scientists presented a Ponzo illusion and asked subjects to analyze which line was longer. The majority answered the second line, although both were the same length.

Clearly, each individual had perceived the optical illusion in a very different way.

For example, some claimed a huge difference in size or length, whereas others only observed subtle differences.

According to Dr. D. Samuel Schwarzkopf, the above-mentioned tests indicate that the smaller the visual cortex, the more likely a person is to be duped by an optical illusion.

And as expected, the larger the visual cortex, the stronger the ability to discern the circles’ true sizes.

“Optical illusions mystify and inspire our imagination, but in truth they show us that how we see the world is not necessarily physically accurate, but rather depends a lot on our brains,” explained chief researcher Dr. D. Samuel Schwarzkopf.

“Have shown that precisely how big something appears to you depends on the size of a brain area that is necessary for vision. How much your brain tricks you depends on how much ‘real estate’ your brain has put aside for visual processing.”

(Via iO9 & Nature Neuroscience)