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Test Your Eyesight: Is it Albert Einstein or Marilyn Monroe?

Heather Suhr
Test Your Eyesight: Is it Albert Einstein or Marilyn Monroe?
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To determine if you have good vision, a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a hybrid image test called “Marilyn Einstein,” which was created by Dr. Aude Oliva for the March 2007 issue of New Scientist magazine. (1,2)

The picture is a combination of blurry (low spatial frequency) images of Marilyn Monroe with a clear (high spatial frequency) image of Albert Einstein. The theory is that if you have perfect eyesight, you should be able to see a comprehensive photo of Einstein when viewing it close-up, however, as the image gets moved further away or if you squint your eyes, the image of Monroe will appear. (2) Or does it?

Researchers first created Marilyn Einstein to gain insight as to how our brain processes details in images or scenes. (3)

How Marilyn Einstein hints to how our brain works and the quality of our vision.

Researchers performed a series of experiments by showing the hybrid image for different lengths of time. People who saw the image in a brief time of 30 milliseconds could only pick up the blurry features of Monroe, which meant that their brains did not have time to pick up the finer details of Einstein’s face no matter the distance of the image. On the other hand, people who saw the picture in 150 milliseconds, saw finer details of Einstein’s face but not Monroe. (3)

As reported in The Christian Science Monitor, “The optical illusion can highlight vision problems – people who might need glasses are often unable to pick out the fine details of Mr. Einstein’s face, and are left seeing an image of Ms. Monroe – but also points out a quirk in how the human brain processes visual information.” (3)

Is it your eyesight or simply your perception?

According to a research by Harvard University, the authors found that when people believe they have excellent eyesight, their vision actually improves. (4)

Researchers asked the participants to practice eye-exercise conditioning and a motivation condition of ‘try and you will succeed’ mindset. Participants implemented one or both of these methods and succeeded. They said, “mind-set manipulation can counteract physiological limits imposed on vision.” (4)

Keeping your eyesight sharp with good nutrition!

The above study by Harvard researchers could be an example of a placebo effect, but it also is a demonstration of what could happen when people actually relax. This could be a foundation of the mental approach of the Bates Method in which they believe: “Learn how to improve your eyesight without lenses or surgery and learn how to increase your chances of healing in cases of degenerative eye disease.” (5)

A sure way to keep your eyesight healthy is definitely through nutrition. If you are a vegan, be sure to eat dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collards, or non-meat sources such as nuts and beans. Additionally, oranges or other citrus fruits are helpful. If you are not vegan, foods such as organic eggs, salmon, tuna, or other oily fish may support eye health. (6)

The best eye medicine is to relax and eat nutritious food!

Sources for this article include:
(1) www.newscientist.com
(2) cvcl.mit.edu
(3) www.csmonitor.com
(4) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(5) www.seeing.org
(6) www.webmd.com

Image source: flic.kr

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