The mind's eye

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by James R, Apr 13, 2018.


Read the opening post then select an answer to the poll.

  1. A

  2. B

  3. C

  4. D

  5. E

  6. I don't want to participate in the poll. Just show me the results.

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I'm interested in member responses to the above poll. Here's what you need to do:

    Imagine you are at the beach. Picture in your mind's eye the sand, the beach towels on the sand, the water, the sunshine, the umbrellas. Imagine boats out on the water in the distance. Imagine two people walking hand-in-hand along the shoreline, splashing their bare feet in the water.

    My question to you is this: where are you in this scene? That is, how do you picture yourself in the scene? Do you see it (A) like you normally view the world, looking out of your own eyes; or (B) like watching yourself, as if from a distance or from above; or (C) some other way (explain in the thread); or it is (D) you can't really picture yourself there at all (you only picture the other people and things and you're kind of disembodied); or (E) you can't conjure up the scene at all as a mental image.

    Please answer the poll before you read further down the thread. There are no right or wrong answers, and I'd prefer it if responses were not biased by what appears below.

    Once we have a few responses, I'll comment further.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  3. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    I'm curious to see where this is going.
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  5. sweetpea Valued Senior Member

    D. It's something like when I try to imagine some event out of history, say the gunfight at the OK corral or Anne Boleyn's execution. I don't picture myself there or part of the scene.
    Brain in tub.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    As you describe it, I see it like a movie - or those things we had before movies... uh... books.

    When I read a book that I have already seen as a movie - e.g. The Godfather - I visualize the actors in the movie. Even if I have not seen a movie based on the book, I sometimes visualize actors as the characters.
  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    I can or do imagine scenes from a 3rd-person or roving neutral camera perspective. But not when the context revolves around my participation as being bodily present: "Imagine you are at the beach." With that condition, it shifts to being more like my avatar's POV in a dream.

    - - -
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I kind of imagined it as if I was standing on a bluff overlooking the beach, looking at it spread out below me in front of my "mind's eye". (So I chose option A.) I didn't have any direct image or sense of myself in the scene, but my imagined presence was kind of implicit based on the point-of-view. Parts of the scene seemed to be farther away than others. It seemed spread out over an angular expanse.

    Edit based on CC's post immediately above: The OP does ask us to imagine ourselves at a beach. But I think that I would have imagined it pretty much the same way even if it was a less personal: 'Imagine a beach...' I probably would have pictured it as if I was looking at it.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  10. spidergoat Venued Serial Memberlist Valued Senior Member

    A, because that's what you said to do.
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I didn't intend it, but sortta +1 on spidergoat.

    I pictured what you asked me to picture. I can tell you where my vantage point was. I was about 20 yards from the water's edge.

    (BTW, you might have accidentally flubbed the experiment. You typed "hand-in-hand alone the beach." I didn't notice at the time - not consciously - until I went back and re-read it, but it's at least plausible that the word 'alone' caused me to perceive the scene of the two of them alone.)
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Okay. I think we have enough responses.

    I was reading the other day that the majority of people apparently select option B here. That is, most people when they imagine themselves tend to imagine that they are looking at themselves, as if from above or nearby. I was surprised to read that because I'm an option A guy, just like most of you seem to be. In light of the responses here, I see two possibilities: (1) what I read was wrong, or (2) the demographic of people who have answered this poll so far is not representative of the general population.

    I am wondering if your answers would have been different if I'd asked about your dreams. So, follow-up questions:

    Where are you in your dreams? Do you dream from a first-person point of view (like looking out of your eyes as usual), or do you see yourself?

    Myself, I'm still an A on this: I almost always dream from a first-person perspective. In fact, I'm hard pressed to recall any dream in which I watched myself from a distance.

    Out of interest, I also threw in option E in the poll. A few months ago, I was reading that some people apparently have no "mind's eye" at all. That is, they don't have mental imagery. There was a newspaper article on it somewhere, which you can probably find on the internet. It's hard to imagine that some people just can't picture that beach scene. Whereas most of us can imagine the sun on our faces, the sound of the waves, the feel of the sand, there's a proportion of the population out there who just can't do that at all.

    I'm always interested to discover just how much "hidden" features of the human brain can differ from person to person. What is completely normal to you might be something I just don't have, and vice versa. Another example is synesthesia. People who have it tend to assume everybody has it - until they discover that not everybody "sees" numbers as having colours (for example), or that not everybody sees colours when they hear music.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Was going to check A, but realized that D was more accurate (the viewpoint as if there and looking around, but no sense of bodily presence. Not sitting or standing, barefoot or shod, hot or cold or in the wind).

    It may ride on the exact wording of the description.
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I picked C - as I see it as a mix of perspectives, constantly jumping between them depending on what I'm focusing on.
    I can imagine myself there, as if I'm on the beach, but then when I imagine the couple it's like a camera swings round to focus on them and I'm no longer there - just behind the camera, so to speak. Then if, say, I want to interact with them it would be a mix of 1st or 3rd person, probably more 1st than 3rd. Then when the boats are focused on sometimes it might be the camera swinging away again to give a close up of the boat, or it could be a 1st person look from the beach.

    Basically it jumps all over the place. Which is why I put C.
    Unfortunately it might all just be too much Michael Bay-esque.
  15. sweetpea Valued Senior Member

    Regards A in the OP...
    Are A's saying they see their feet when they look down in their mind's eye? When on that beach they would automatically see their feet when looking down to the ground?

    As for dreams, I 'think' I'm mixed. Sometimes A and sometimes D. In dreams I'm not too sure if I would automatically see my feet when looking down. Yet, I'm sure my feet or toes would be part of my dream if something was happening to them??
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    My wife is apparently one of these - sort of.
    We had this almost exact conversation, and she said she said she cannot just conjure up a scene - at least not unassisted.
    She has to construct it item by item, as you specify time, location, number of people, etc.
  17. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    I glossed over the poll and didn't vote cause an "All of the above" option was not there.
  18. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    For me, dreams are just like real experiences. I see what I would see if I was there. The idea of seeing myself in a dream is pretty bizarre.
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    When I was younger I used to be more of a passive participant in my dreams. Like reading a book, I might even sort of know what's going to happen, though usually unable to change it.

    Lately, I'm more a direct participant. I often decide I don't like the way a dream is going (falling off a ladder or getting shot) and will alter the outcome. It's not quite as high-level as lucid dreaming.
  20. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    From James R. Post 9
    In some dreams I have a first person POV. These dreams usually seem to be related to some of my recent waking activities.

    In other dreams I see myself. In these dreams I see myself doing embarrassing activities, most often being nude when all others are fully clothed.
  21. Vociferous Registered Senior Member

    D, I can picture myself or see from a first-person perspective if I want, but I naturally revert to disembodied point of view that focuses on each thing, much like Sarkus describes.
    But in dreams, I am almost always viewing from first-person.

    I would guess that since we're already engaging the mind's eye in dreams, we typically dream in first-person outside of lucid dreams.
  22. sweetpea Valued Senior Member

    Dreams F insomnia.

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  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    Standing at the junction edge of the beach / grass

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