I don’t recognize the exact point in humans’ evolutionary history where a hereditary mutation provided moms one extra collection of eyes in the earlier of your heads, but it’s a given fact that they have actually them.

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Like the childhood instance when i tried come eat one earthworm, and my mom—engrossed in garden work—spun v saucer-sized eyes and a clump the weeds she was all set to throw at me if I ongoing with my culinary exploration. Ns stopped, dumbfounded, that v her back totally turned, she knew.

And although that back-head pair of eye is regularly chalked as much as folklore, recent research says those stories might not be far from the truth.

But first, let’s talk around how some civilization can see without actually seeing…


When i took my an initial university psychology class, Dr. Numan called me around an astounding phenomenon:

Researchers would certainly take explicitly blind individuals—people v no conscious capability to see—and throw a round at them. Return this sounds prefer a cruel prank, the researchers had found that this patients would actually catch the ball.

When the patients were asked later how they knew/were able to record something they couldn’t see, the patients had no explanation. They had actually no idea a sphere was thrown until it finished up in their hands.

So…what the heck?

Blindsight refers to people who have damages to their primary visual cortex, preventing them indigenous consciously gift able to check out anything.

However, due to the fact that of various other structures in the brain, such as the superior colliculus (a less “evolved” area regarded vision) and the lateral geniculate nucleus (an area that processes the position and movement of objects), this otherwise blind individuals are able “to see” particular things. Or rather, their brains are able to.

Which, can we take it a minute to acknowledge, is pretty darn remarkable…

But what around the point out that civilization with regular vision are “blind” to? friend know, behind the head?

(Shioiri et al., 2018)


As I started this post, it’s typical for us to attribute eye to the earlier of people’s (mothers’) heads. And even though we don’t really have actually eyeballs earlier there, the brain does simulate some for us.

Researchers had participants come into the lab wherein they were surrounded with 6 LCD screens (see right). Participants then had actually to do a visual find task, where a bunch of letters would appear on all the screens, and the participant would need to identify a particular one.

What the participants didn’t know, though, to be that some of the letter patterns repeated. The is, back participants had no aware awareness that these patterns of letters (also presented right) were repeating, the mind somehow remembered.

Consequently, the researchers discovered that also though participants thought each trial of the visual search job was unique, they were nonetheless able to more quickly determine where the specific letter to be “hiding,” even when that letter was the end of sight behind them.

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In a sense, then, the mind creates a non-conscious, 360° representation of the an are around you. So even though the mindful mind doesn’t explicitly access it, the brain’s mental map deserve to still affect our behaviors (just like with blindsight).


Together, this research highlights a variety of points. First, moms (like every one of us) do have actually these “simulated eyes” because that the setting behind them. (And maybe, though it’s no been tested, these mental maps are more accessible for moms, especially when a child is around.) Second, over there are factors outside our mindful awareness that influence our thoughts and also behaviors. And third, you should inspect out the Psychophilosophy come Ponder section for a funny optical illusion the highlights your very own seeing there is no seeing