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Is it technically possible to make someone see something when their eyes are closed?

Is it technically possible to make someone see something when their eyes are closed?


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I'm writing a little article and need any information about how human vision works and latest technologies and discoveries around. Actually its not a professional article. Its for a group of my friends.

In fact I'm looking for any possible way to make someone ACTUALLY see when their eyes are closed. I don't know maybe convince some of brain cells that a real pulse is coming from eyes, but in reality its coming from a computer; or something like that.

I call it a virtual vision, myself.

Do you guys know if there's any professional article, discoveries or technologies available about this topic? I'm very very interested in this topic by the way.


Yes, this is most certainly possible and already being done. As long as the visual cortex of the brain (in the occipital lobe, i.e. at the back of your head) is functional, the correct stimulation will produce visual perception.

In cases of blindness caused by malfunction of the retina, meaning that the rest of the visual pathway is functional, this is the most promising approach to restoring vision. See Visual prosthesis and the TED talk on it.

"Virtual vision" as in projecting a whole field of vision (reflecting the real surroundings) is the big ideal target that this technology is aiming for. Of course as soon as they manage to make a working prosthesis for blind people, someone will probably try to make it non-invasive and easily usable for commercial exploitation.


Astronauts discovered that the answer is yes: After a number of astronauts reported seeing "light flashes" even with their eyes closed while in space, subsequent experiments on earth determined that Cosmic rays can trigger all sorts of unusual visual stimuli through closed eyes and in otherwise complete darkness.


One of the things that you could also consider are the experiments done with LSD: if I recall correctly, LSD (or drugs coming from certain mushrooms) cross your neural circuits. You end up "smelling what you see", and "seeing what you smell", etc. In this sense, you would be able to see with your eyes closed, although this is a very particular (yet, interesting) case


I am not an expert on this subject, but essentially what you would need is to have a machine interface directly with neurons.

Neuro-mechanical interface is something which interests many scientists but unfortunately we are only at extremely early stages - even getting accurate readings from a single neuron in vivo is a very challenging task. To achieve virtual vision you would need both technology to accurately interface with many many neurons and to fully understand how the neurons encode visual information. I think these are huge challenges so it will probably take a while to get there.

Until then I guess we will have to stick with VR glasses…


Closed-eye hallucination

Closed-eye hallucinations and closed-eye visualizations (CEV) are a distinct class of hallucination (technically a pseudohallucination since there is generally awareness that the perceived experience is not real). These types of hallucinations generally only occur when one's eyes are closed or when one is in a darkened room. They can be a form of phosphene. Some people report closed-eye hallucinations under the influence of psychedelics. These are reportedly of a different nature than the "open-eye" hallucinations of the same compounds. Similar hallucinations that occur due to loss of vision are called visual release hallucinations.


Thick Green or Gray Mucus

A thick green or gray mucus discharge could be something serious. A green or grayish discharge coming from your eyes may represent an eye infection caused by bacteria.

Bacterial conjunctivitis may cause your eyelid to be completely stuck shut upon awakening in the morning. This type of eye infection is caused by pus-producing (pyogenic) bacteria and can cause symptoms such as redness and irritation.   If you wake up with the feeling of not being able to open your eyes, you could have an eye infection.

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a clear mucous membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. There are several types of conjunctivitis. It is important to have an eye doctor evaluate the condition to determine proper treatment.

Pink eye rarely causes long-term vision or eye damage, but it can make the eye extremely red.


How Anxiety Affects the Eyes

When you suffer from intense anxiety, two things happen to your eyes. First, your pupils dilate. When your fight or flight system is activated, your pupils dilate to make it easier to see and make quick decisions (in a fight, you need to be able to see a threat coming). This is what causes issues like light sensitivity and eye aches.

You also experience a tightening of the muscles in your face. This may constrict the blood vessels to the eyes and cause further eye pain, aches, or even some blurred vision.


Long-term health effects of exposure to benzene

  • The major effect of benzene from long-term exposure is on the blood. (Long-term exposure means exposure of a year or more.) Benzene causes harmful effects on the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance for infection.
  • Some women who breathed high levels of benzene for many months had irregular menstrual periods and a decrease in the size of their ovaries. It is not known whether benzene exposure affects the developing fetus in pregnant women or fertility in men.
  • Animal studies have shown low birth weights, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage when pregnant animals breathed benzene.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood-forming organs.

Eye Floaters & Flashes

There are times when you’re looking at the sky or a blank wall and notice little shapes floating in front of you. They’re not quite clear — almost like little bits of dust stuck on a camera lens. You try to blink them away, but they’re still there. When you look somewhere else, these shapes move with you.

When this happens, you are experiencing eye floaters. Eye floaters are solidified parts of a gel-like substance within the middle of your eye called your vitreous or vitreous humor. As you age, the vitreous starts to shrink within your eye, creating these small particles. Floaters slowly drift through the vitreous. As they move, they pass in front of your macula (the center of the retina), which allows you to see them.

Floaters are very common and, for many people, are a part of the natural aging process. In most cases, you don’t need to treat floaters. They can be annoying at first, but over time you won’t notice they’re there anymore. Sometimes this is mistaken with them going away completely. Floaters can get less pronounced, but they are permanent and stay in eye.

Sometimes, they can be a sign of a more serious eye condition called retinal detachment. In this condition, the shrinking and pulling away of the vitreous (called posterior vitreous detachment) causes the retina to detach. This can cause serious vision problems. Retinal tears are another condition that can be caused by the shrinking of the vitreous. It’s important to remember that as the vitreous shrinks over time, it can create floaters. If you suddenly have more floaters than normal or are experiencing flashes (bursts of light across your field of vision), you should reach out to your eye care provider right away.

What do eye floaters look like?

There are many ways to describe eye floaters. Some people see spiders, medusas, amoebas or clouds. The way you think a floater looks is guided somewhat by your own creativity. If you have floaters, you might see:

  • Squiggly lines.
  • Spots.
  • Spider-like shapes.
  • Thread-like strands.
  • Small shadowy shapes.
  • Black or very dark spots.

There’s no one way you might see floaters and your description of floaters might sound completely different than another person.

What parts of the eye are affected by eye floaters?

When you have eye floaters, they can often appear to be in front of your eye or right on the surface. You may rub your eyes or remove your contact lenses to try to get rid of the dust-like particles. However, eye floaters are located inside your eye. Think of your eye as a ball. To get its round shape, your eye is filled with a gel-like fluid called vitreous. The vitreous is in the middle of the eye with the other structures that allow you to see the world located around it.

Moving from the front of your eye to the back, you have several layers, including:

  • The cornea.
  • The pupil.
  • The iris.
  • The lens.
  • The retina.
  • The optic nerve.

When talking about floaters and their impact on the eye, it’s important to know about the retina. Located at the back of your eye, the retina changes the light that comes into your eye into electrical signals. These signals go to the brain where they become images. When you have floaters in the vitreous, they’re hovering in front of the retina. This casts shadows and shapes on the retina, which you then see as a part of the thing you are looking at.

Are eye floaters normal?

Eye floaters are often a normal and common part of the aging process. As you get older, the fluid within your eyes (vitreous) shrinks. This is normal and doesn’t mean that your eyes are no longer healthy. It is important to maintain regular eye exams over time, especially if you are experiencing floaters. They usually aren’t something you need to be concerned about, but it’s a good idea to have your eyes regularly checked to make sure there aren’t any other serious eye issues.

Can eye floaters happen in only one eye or both eyes at the same time?

Your eyes may not age exactly the same or do everything at the exact same time. The vitreous might shrink in one eye a little faster than in the other. Often, eye floaters are found in one eye at a time. It can happen to both of your eyes, but this usually doesn’t happen at the same time.

What causes eye floaters?

There are several reasons that you might develop eye floaters, but the main one is age. As you get older, the gel-like fluid inside your eye (vitreous) starts to shrink. When the vitreous shrinks, it creates small particles that float down through the fluid. These are your floaters. They eventually settle towards the bottom of your eye where you won’t notice them anymore. This is usually the cause of eye floaters in most people.

There are several other, less common, causes of eye floaters. These include:

If you have blood in your eye, it’s often linked to diabetes. A condition called diabetic retinopathy can cause blood from the retina to get into the vitreous. You might see this as dark spots or streaks in your vision. If you have diabetes, you should have regular eye exams to check your vision.

You can also experience inflammation inside your eye. Sometimes your eye can become inflamed (swollen), causing you to experience floaters. This inflammation is called uveitis.

Are eye floaters hereditary?

Eye floaters can happen to anyone as they age. However, other vision issues — like retinal tears or detachment — could be hereditary. If you have a family history of retinal detachment or tears, you might be at a higher risk of developing one in the future. Eye floaters and flashes are potential signs of retinal detachment or retinal tears.

Other risk factors that can be passed down through your family relate to your sight — specifically nearsightedness. If you’re nearsighted, you could be at a higher risk of developing floaters. This could eventually lead to retinal detachment.

However, many people have no family history of retinal detachment or retinal tears when they experience eye floaters. It’s important to remember that eye floaters often happen naturally over time and are a part of the aging process.

Who’s most likely to develop eye floaters?

In most cases, eye floaters develop as you age. They can happen to anyone, but you are at a higher risk of eye floaters if you:

  • Are older (typically over age 50).
  • Are nearsighted (have trouble seeing things that are far away).
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have had eye issues in the past like swelling within your eye.
  • Have had a surgery to correct cataracts.

What age do eye floaters usually start to appear?

For most people, eye floaters start to show up in their vision between the ages of 50 and 70. However, you can see the occasional floater any time before then. Those are much less common. You may want to check in with your eye doctor about persistent floaters you see at a younger age because it could be a sign of a more serious eye condition.

How are eye floaters diagnosed?

Your eye care provider will usually diagnose eye floaters during an eye exam. Your eyes will be dilated so that your provider can get a clear look at the inside of your eye. This allows the provider to see floaters you have and check on your retina. Making sure your retina is not damaged and there’s no sign of a retinal detachment or tear, is an important part of your eye exam.

You may need to have regular eye exams if your provider finds floaters. This is a precaution and allows your provider to keep track of how your vitreous is shrinking over time. Going to these regular eye exams can help prevent a more serious eye problem from happening down the road.

What questions will my doctor ask me about eye floaters and flashes during an appointment?

During an appointment to diagnosis eye floaters, your eye care provider will want to get as many details as possible about your vision and what you’ve been seeing. This is part of the diagnosis process and helps your provider figure out what’s going on with your vision. The more detail you can provide, the better. Some questions you provider may ask you can include:

  • When did you first notice the eye floaters?
  • What do your eye floaters look like and how many do you usually see at a time?
  • How often do you experience eye floaters?
  • Have you ever seen flashes in your vision?
  • Have you had any eye surgeries in the past?
  • Have you ever had an eye injury?
  • Are any parts of your vision covered (think of a curtain in front of your eyes)?
  • Do you see any shadows on the side of your vision (peripheral)?
  • Do you have any autoimmune diseases?
  • Are you diabetic?

Sometimes it can help to start a journal when you first experience a vision problem. Write down everything you saw and details like how long it lasted. This can be a helpful tool when you go into your provider’s office for your appointment.

How do you treat eye floaters?

The most common treatment for eye floaters is not to treat them at all. Even though they can be annoying and bothersome, eye floaters are usually harmless. They usually drift out of your line of sight and you stop noticing them over time. This can be frustrating for people who notice the eye floaters dancing across their view often, but it’s the safest option in most cases.

Eye Floater Surgery

There is a surgical option for removing floaters, but it involves a lot of risk to your vision. In cases where there are a lot of floaters and they’re starting to impact the way you see, a procedure called a vitrectomy can be used to remove them. This surgical procedure involves using incisions to remove the gel-like vitreous from inside your eye. The vitreous is then replaced with a solution that mimics the vitreous. There are several risks involved in this procedure, including:

  • Developing retinal detachment.
  • Developing retinal tears.
  • Not getting all of the floaters out of your eye.
  • Developing cataracts.

Damage to your sight is a risk of this surgery. For this reason, many providers will carefully discuss all pros and cons of this elective procedure before deciding on this treatment path.

Sometimes your provider may also use a laser to treat floaters. This can break up groupings of floaters, helping move them out of your field of vision. This procedure also has possible side effects.

There are no home remedies to make eye floaters go away. Unfortunately, they are often a natural part of aging. Even though they will fade and not be noticeable anymore over time, they never truly go away.

Will eye floaters go away over time?

For many people, eye floaters do not necessarily go away over time, but they do become less noticeable. They slowly sink within your vitreous and eventually settle at the bottom of your eye. Once this happens, you won’t notice them and will think they have gone away. Your brain will also start to ignore them over time, helping you to not notice that they’re still there on the edges of your vision.

The floaters will stay in your eye, settled towards the bottom. They don’t go away, but they usually don’t cause issues for most people over the long-haul.

Can eye floaters and flashes be confused with other medical symptoms?

When you are seeing unusual things in your field of vision, it can sometimes be alarming. Floaters are typically harmless, but they can easily be confused with other vision changes like large spots in your vision. These symptoms can be signs of other medical conditions like:

It’s always a good idea to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have sudden changes to your vision. This could be especially important if you have a medical history of a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Are eye floaters an emergency?

Eye floaters are usually not an emergency. If you see the occasional eye floater, it typically isn’t something to worry about. You should let your eye care provider know about the floaters and have your eyes checked regularly to make sure there are no other vision issues, but this isn’t an emergency.

However, if you suddenly have more floaters than normal, reach out to your healthcare provider right away. This could be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment and it will need to be treated quickly.

Can you have eye floaters and flashes at the same time?

You can experience floaters and flashes together or on their own. Both floaters and flashes happen when the vitreous pulls on the retina, creating tension.

What are eye flashes?

Flashes are bright spots or points of light in your field of vision. You can develop flashes for a few reasons, but one of the most common is when the gel-like vitreous in your eye shrinks and begins to pull on your retina. This is called posterior vitreous detachment. You’re more likely to see flashes as you age and the vitreous of your eye naturally shrinks.

For many people, flashes will happen more often first thing in the morning or when you’re in a dark room. You might wake up seeing flashes of bright light that then fade as the day continues.

Who’s most likely to develop eye flashes?

Eye flashes are most often see in:

What do eye flashes look like?

Flashes can be described in several ways, including seeing:

  • A bright spot or streak of light.
  • A jagged light that looks like lightening.
  • Bursts of light that look like fireworks or camera flashes.

Some people also compare flashes in your vision to when you hit the back of your head and see bright lights for a few moments.

Are eye flashes a symptom of a more serious eye problem?

Eye flashes can be a symptom of retinal detachment or retinal tears. These are serious conditions that can damage your sight. A retinal tear is a break in the retina. A retinal detachment happens when the vitreous pulls away from the retina, creates a break allowing the fluid from the vitreous can get behind the retina and cause damage to your vision.

How are eye flashes related to migraines?

Seeing a flash of light can be one symptom of a migraine. When you have a migraine, your vision can be affected. You might see a flash that looks like a jagged bolt of lightening or a zigzag line. This might look different than a flash you would experience if you have posterior vitreous detachment. Another difference is the age you might experience the flashes. Flashes that are linked to migraines typically happen in younger people, while seeing flashes when your vitreous is shrinking usually happens at an older age. With an ocular migraine you might or might not get a headache.

How are eye flashes treated?

Flashes are usually treated by taking care of the condition that’s causing them. If you’re experiencing flashes related to migraines, treating your migraines can help relieve the flashes. This can also be the case if you are experiencing retinal detachment or a retinal tear. You’ll need to have the condition treated to help relieve the flashes. This is also a serious eye condition that you will need to see your provider about quickly. Remember to reach out to your provider right away if you experience new or more flashes than normal.

When should I worry about eye floaters or flashes in my vision?

In most cases, the occasional eye floater or flash in your vision isn’t something you need to worry about. This often happens as you age and it’s very normal. However, if you start to notice a lot more floaters than you’ve experienced in the past or many flashes, you should call your doctor. This could be a sign of a serious vision problem like a detached retina. If you have a detached or torn retina, you’ll need treatment.

It’s important to take care of your eyes, especially as you age. If you notice anything unusual happening with your vision, it’s often a good idea to call your healthcare provider. Having your eyes checked regularly and voicing any concerns is a good way to keep your eyes healthy over time.


Our Attention Is Captured by Eye-Glance

Summary:When people make eye contact with another person, their attention is immediately solicited and this causes a distortion in temporal perception. However, the shift in time perception does not change when people glance at non-social items or objects.

Source:University of Geneva

Eyes play an important role in social communication by expressing the intentions of our interlocutors, and even more so in times of pandemic when half of the face is hidden. But is this eye contact automatic and rapid? Is it based on a priority attentional reaction or, on the contrary, on a particular emotional reaction?

To answer these questions, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, looked at the way we process human gaze, focusing on the estimation of the temporal duration of social interactions.

They discovered that when we make eye contact with another person, our attention is directly solicited, causing a distortion in our temporal perception. As a result, time seems shorter than it really is. On the contrary, this underestimation of time does not occur when we look at a non-social object.

These results, in the journal Cognition, will make it possible to develop a diagnostic tool to evaluate the mechanisms at work in people who are sensitive to social gaze, and then to act accordingly if disorders in the processing of social stimuli are detected, for instance in the case of autism or schizophrenia.

The way we look at others and the way we perceive others’ gaze have a major impact on social communication, a fundamental function called social cognition.

“From an early age, we learn to decipher the feelings and intentions of our interlocutors through their eyes. Thus, meeting someone’s gaze is a very common social situation, but it always leads to a particular feeling”, notes Nicolas Burra, a researcher at the Psychology Section of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (FPSE) at the UNIGE, and first author of the study.

Two hypotheses are put forward to describe this situation: one says that eye contact with others directly generates an emotional reaction, without passing through our attention.

The second hypothesis is that eye contact activates rapid and automatic attentional processing, which subsequently generates an emotional response.

Our perception of time influenced by emotion and attention

To test these hypotheses, the UNIGE researchers looked at the way we perceive time, which varies according to the emotional or attentional processing of the visual stimulus.

“Indeed, it has been shown that when our emotional capacities have to process an unpleasant visual stimulus, for example if we are asked to evaluate the time of the appearance of a large spider, we will overestimate the time that passes, giving the impression that it is flowing more quickly than it actually does”, explains Nicolas Burra.

Thus, our ability to evaluate time is disturbed by the emotional charge and accelerates. On the contrary, when the visual stimulus is processed by attention, the opposite effect occurs: focused on a stimulus that is very important for our attention, we underestimate the time that elapses and look at the object longer than we imagined.

“By analyzing how long a person estimates that he or she has been looking at an object, we can determine whether the eye contact between two people is more attention-seeking or emotion-seeking”, says the Geneva-based researcher.

Deviated gazes versus eye contact

To assess the impact of eye contact on our perception of time, 22 participants observed a series of nearly 300 faces moving their eyes: either gazes establishing direct eye contact – eyes look into the void and then catch the participant’s gaze – or deviated gazes – the same eye movement is made, but the face and the participant’s gaze never meet.

Over a period of 20 minutes, the participants subjectively assessed the different durations (between 1 and 2 seconds, close to everyday social interactions) of these social interactions.

“While deviated glances do not distort our perception of time, we found that, on the contrary, when glances crossed, the participants systematically underestimated the duration of these eye contacts”, says Nicolas Burra. This experiment reveals that eye contact does not primarily impact the emotional system, but rather the attentional system that distracts us from our ability to evaluate time.

To assess these results, the UNIGE researchers carried out the same experiment with other participants, using non-social objects that made the same movements as the gaze. In that case, no distortion of time perception was observed. The same was true when a face was static. “It seems that not only a gaze, but also a movement is required”, the neuroscientist points out.

The time-distortion effect was found, however, when the participants were shown only schematic eye movements or moving parts of the eyes without the rest of the face – a situation that is similar to social interaction with a mask.

When we make eye contact with another person, our attention is directly solicited, causing a distortion in our temporal perception. Image is in the public domain

But it goes further, because this effect was also found in an online experiment with a hundred people, corroborating and generalizing the results obtained in the laboratory.

Eye contact captures attention

This series of experiments shows that eye contact and social stimuli impacts attention, preferentially. “This explains the sensation we feel when someone looks at us even though we have not yet really met their gaze”, explains Nicolas Burra.


10 subtle signs someone doesn't like you

When it comes to forming new relationships or friendship, people usually base their first impression off of how the other person makes them feel. If they’re nice to you, you start to believe that this could be something long lasting and if they’re not, you’re often left wondering just why they weren’t.

Though you can sometimes walk away not knowing that a person isn’t a fan of you, it is common knowledge that people crossing their arms while speaking to you or looking elsewhere when doing the same are ways to know that your hopeful new relationships isn’t going far.

According to international consultant, speaker, host, and best-selling author Ali Craig , however, there are plenty of indicators that someone may not be fond of you the way you are of them.

"Believe it or not, the distance someone keeps from you, whether or not their arms are crossed, lack of eye contact, forced smiles and other nonverbal behaviors can and sometimes are indicators as to whether or not someone likes you," she said. "This is not always the case, however, and just like any rule, there are always exceptions. But many times, if people are displaying two, three or four of the signs listed below, there’s a good chance they might consider you a foe versus friend."

Although creating new bonds are often beneficial, here are 10 ways to know that your efforts to form a new relationship won’t go the way you expected.


How Accessing Your Backspace Can Make You a More 3-D Dancer

Dancers, like all people, are naturally frontal beings. Yet they're constantly being tasked with moving backwards, and asked to sense what's behind them to keep from trampling set pieces or their colleagues.

Learning to activate your backspace can not only help you become a more three-dimensional dancer, but can make you more confident and fearless no matter what type of movement is thrown your way. "The backspace is really a source of untapped energy," says Pamela Pietro, a professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. "It just takes time to understand and find."

Spirals and Circles

"Backspace" means something slightly different to every dancer. But thinking beyond the muscles of your back to what's behind you requires a conceptual understanding of both your kinesphere and the systems of spirals within the body.

"We're these three-dimensional beings and not these flexion-and-extension beings only," says Pietro. "But what we sometimes fail to understand is that there's an entire circular pattern that's going on. Part of that is backspace, but it's also spiraling." A former assistant to dance anatomy guru Irene Dowd, Pietro believes that an understanding of the spirals in the body can lead to more possibilities for directionality.

Zachary Heller, a longtime member of Giordano Dance Chicago and a jazz teacher, encourages his students to think of their torsos as an old-fashioned barber's pole, spiraling to create more textured movement. "That idea of wrapping starts to engage the whole torso," he says. In a technique based on contraction and curvature, opposition between the back and the core are key, and leads to both more engaged back muscles and a greater awareness of the backspace.

Anatomy, Anatomy, Anatomy

Sheyi Ojofeitimi, a physical therapist who works with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, says understanding backspace starts by training the pathways between the mind and the body. When working with Ailey dancers, she uses a computerized anatomy program to show them how the complex muscles of their backs and shoulders come together. "I need them to get to the point where they're visualizing where things are when they move," she says, noting that a deep understanding gives dancers the freedom they crave. "It's like a dark room—you're less willing to go explore if no one's ever shined a light in there. Once you know what's in there, you'll be like 'I can't see, but I know.' "

Sheyi Ojofeitimi working with an Ailey dancer

Photo courtesy Ojofeitimi

Moving on Back

Creating new connections between your brain and your body leads to an enhanced sense of proprioception, a vital tool in building awareness of your backspace. One way Ojofeitimi works to enhance these pathways is by simply having dancers move backwards. She starts them walking, and then running, backwards on a treadmill. "At first they're holding on, going one step at a time, but after a week they can stride backwards while talking." Ojofeitimi also encourages dancers to challenge their brains by reversing basic actions throughout their days. An easy place to start is just walking backwards alongside the length of your couch, and then turning around and walking backwards the other way.

Use the Backs of the Legs

When Pietro first instructs her students to move backwards, either across the floor or in improvisation, she finds that their tendency is to lead with their butts. To get them to break that habit, she encourages them to imagine that their feet have eyes and are leading the way. "When they're moving into their backspace, they're actually reaching with their toes," she says. Pietro also asks them to return to an awareness of their hamstrings and glutes, which she builds through somatic-pathway exercises at the beginning of class, such as lying in a sphinx pose and doing simple leg lifts. "It helps students realize the directionality of where their legs are going," says Pietro.

Eyes Closed

Another key exercise in developing new neuropathways is moving with your eyes closed. Dancers can get so stuck on needing to see where they're going that they lose awareness of what's behind them. Pietro frequently gives her students improvisational prompts asking them to move into their backspace with their eyes closed. Ojofeitimi also uses this technique in her physical therapy practice, having dancers practice exercises with their eyes open and then closed. "It's trying to test the ability of the proprioceptors in that area to kick in," she adds.

Don't Forget Spatial Awareness

Dancers are often told they're not moving big enough, and some of that can stem from fear of hitting what's around you. For Heller, it's not only about understanding his backspace, but knowing everything that's going on around him onstage. He recommends learning other dancers' parts, to understand how all the pieces fit together. "I see my own track and the map of everyone's track," he says. "Then you can also see things in terms of spatial awareness, using your peripherals."

Zachary Heller (right) in Ray Mercer's "Tossed Around."

Gorman Cook, courtesy Giordano Dance Chicago

Strive for Boundlessness

When watching dancers in performance, Pietro says she can instantly see if they're embodying their backspace. "If you have an idea of your backspace as the thing that's propelling you, there's an energy going from the back to the front. Their movement completely changes, and becomes fuller and richer," she says. In her own practice, Pietro believes that confidence plays a critical role in accessing her backspace. "It feels like being in a space with no walls. There's no front or back or side, but it's my understanding of my body inside of a space inside of movement. And it feels boundless."


In a scientific first, cloned monkeys are born. Will they accelerate biomedical research?

And those who could star in the favorite fictional plot — egocentric billionaires who want to clone themselves — have only increased in number and, it seems plausible, in revealed egocentricity. Some of these billionaires are openly pursuing immortality, so why not look into cloning?

Presumably, the Raëlians aren’t interested, after having announced that they had successfully cloned 14 children more than 15 years ago. But it is a big world, with lots of unusual people. Why hasn’t one of them yet followed in the footsteps of the many who, in the first years after Dolly, announced their intentions to clone humans?

Part of me would like to say that people have understood, from the writing of scientists, bioethicists, and other experts (mainly through journalists quoting those experts), that a clone would not be that special: It would never be an exact copy of a living or formerly living person. But as much as I would like to believe that, I doubt it. Recent years have not been kind to the idea that people listen to experts.

Is cloning passé, its moment in the spotlight having come and gone? If so, why?

I think this is a real mystery. It isn’t a particularly important one, but it might provide some insight into public opinion, press behavior, moral panics, and other important aspects about social behavior in the face of startling discoveries in the biosciences.

At the very least it is a puzzle, one for which I invite solutions, total or partial, from Sherlock Holmes or any reader.


Watch the video: Phosphenes: What You See Behind Closed Eyes (May 2022).