Real or not real?  Your mind must constantly make distinctions

Real or not real? Your mind must constantly make distinctions

“Just get in the elevator,” the man says. I press the top button – the 30th floor – and zoom in at lightning speed. When the doors open, I stand on the roof of a skyscraper. “Yes, go outside,” the man encourages me. “Walk forward. See that ledge sticking out over there? Just walk over there and stand on the ledge.” Hesitantly, I move step by step towards the edge of the roof. When I look around, I see a city populated by millions, with hundreds of office and other residential towers. When I'm on the edge, I can't help but glance down. An amazing abyss, along the way I see the street, with small cars like matchboxes. “Now take two final steps forward, if you dare.” Adrenaline rushes through my body. I step into the thin air with both feet.

Feeling dizzy and dazed, I pull the 3D glasses from my head. My company is gloating about my near downfall. Because I didn't really fall hundreds of metres. I was in a virtual world. Even though I knew it wasn't real, my body reacted as if it probably was. She hesitated between fantasy and reality, and she wanted the principle Better safe than sorry To impose. Which I ignored, because I wanted to have the full experience.

What I witnessed a few years ago at a tech festival is something our brains experience all the time. He must constantly distinguish between the real and the unreal, between the real and the imagined. Scientists believe that our brain may have a kind of reality threshold for visual information. We interpret visual signals above that threshold as real; Weaker signals are fantasy.

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This mechanism faces increasing challenges. Games have become more realistic, and 3D glasses allow us to move in a fantasy world, Deep fakes Increasingly misleading us. For some people, the threshold is already fragile anyway. Those who are prone to hallucinations or paranoid thoughts live in an imaginary and frightening world.

Real or not real? We're talking about that New edition of Eos Self and Brain. Fortunately, a vivid imagination can give you a lot of fun. Just think of the imaginary friends many children have. This is not a problem, on the contrary. Research shows that it helps children with their emotional development.

Meanwhile, my husband – who is afraid of heights – wore 3D glasses. I wonder how he'll do there…

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