Many of us can see our body even in horrible darkness

We can see our body in complete darkness (Credit: Joan Sorolla/Flickr)

Main Point:

Researchers have found that many of us can see the movement of our body even in complete darkness as “the brain predicts visual consequences of actions.”

Published in:

[sociallocker]Psychological Science

Study Further:

In the present study, researchers worked with the blindfolded volunteers, so that they would not be able to see anything. They found that the participants, who were completely blindfolded, were able to feel the shadowy outlines of the arms moving in front of their eyes.  Although, they are not actually looking at the arms and hands but, according to researchers, their mind is generating the images.

After doing a number of experiments using computerized eye trackers/special infrared eye-tracking devices, researchers found that about 75% of the people are able to see their own bodies in the dark or blindfolded. Researchers confirmed this finding by considering the smooth eye movements, which usually represent that the person’s eyes are following a target, but if the eyes of the person are making jerky movements, they are not usually following any target.

“We found that the perceived vividness of kinesthesis-induced visual sensations predicted participants’ ability to smoothly track self-generated hand movements with their eyes in darkness,” Researchers wrote.

Researchers also performed the experiments with the people, who have synesthesia – the feeling of sensation in one part of the body when another part is stimulated as for example hearing a certain sound on looking at the blue color or sight of a certain color while reading something. They found that the synesthetes could follow their body movements in the dark almost perfectly.

“Using a deceptive experimental design, we discovered that waving one’s own hand in front of one’s covered eyes can cause visual sensations of motion. Conjecturing that these visual sensations arise from multisensory connectivity, we showed that grapheme-color synesthetes experience substantially stronger kinesthesis-induced visual sensations than nonsynesthetes do,” Researchers wrote in the paper.


Kevin C. Dieter et al. (2013). Kinesthesis Can Make an Invisible Hand Visible Psychological Science DOI: 10.1177/0956797613497968

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."