Originally uploaded by dealingwith
Recently a researcher named Jennifer Whitson published a study in the journal Science called “Lacking Control Increases Illusory Pattern Perception.” She did an experiment with two groups that were given a test. The “powerless” group was told that their answers were half right, half wrong, no matter what they said. The “in control” group were told that their answers were right.
Both groups were then shown a series of images of random static. Here’s the interesting part: The people in the “powerless” group were more likely to see images in the static - to find meaning in chaos - than the people in the “in control” group. So, while all our brains are meaning-making machines, the results of this study show that stressed out brains work harder to find meaning. They literally see things that are not there.