When you see the world as a picture, it’s not so scary anymore: ‘Photoshopped’ images show how people can live in the future
When you hear the word ‘photoshopped,’ what do you think?
Well, you may not see what you think when you hear ‘photoshop,’ but that’s because some of the images you see online are photoshopped.
A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge, the University College London and the University Medical Center Utrecht (UTZ) found that photoshopping can distort the image in our brains.
The study used a technique known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure how the brain processes and maps images, and found that the brains of people who viewed an image that appeared to be photoshotted had more connections to areas associated with memory, attention and emotion.
In other words, the people who were shown a photoshatted image were more likely to remember the image than those who were not.
The team used DTI to look at brain scans of people in the study and found changes in connections between the right ventricle and the anterior cingulate cortex, two brain regions involved in emotion.
“These findings highlight how we can manipulate our brains to make us feel better,” said Dr. Mark B. M. Gelles, a professor of psychology and director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the Institute for Neuroscience and Society at U.C.L.A. “When we see an image as a painting, our brain makes sense of the object and uses it as a way of thinking about what it is,” he said.
Gell, who is also the senior author on the paper, said the study’s findings have important implications for how we design, manufacture and use technology. “
This suggests that the brain may not be able to tell the difference between what we see and what it thinks we are seeing, which may make it harder to recognize that we’re actually seeing something different.”
Gell, who is also the senior author on the paper, said the study’s findings have important implications for how we design, manufacture and use technology.
“People have a tendency to believe that the technology is real and they want to use it,” he explained.
“However, in our study we showed that people do have a bias against the technology.
They are able to see a difference between the technology and the painting, but they’re not able to perceive the difference.”
Dr. Menno J. Biermann, an associate professor of medicine at the U.S. Mayo Clinic and co-author of the paper said the research does suggest that the way we perceive images can be affected by how we process them.
“The data is compelling and suggests that visual perception may not always be as accurate as we might hope, especially in areas like memory and attention,” Bierman said.
Biersman and Gell were able to use DTI because of a collaboration between the University and the Medical Center.
The DTI technique can measure the electrical activity in the brain and has the potential to be used to understand the brain, and how different regions in the body work together.
“If you can measure this activity in a healthy person, you can understand how they process images,” Biersmann said.
In the future, the researchers hope to use the technique to look more closely at how people’s brains process information in the digital age.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the British Heart Foundation and the National Science Foundation.