Our ability to imitate facial expressions depends on learning and visual feedback, say psychologists. Marketing people knew that already. The 'chameleon effect' is commonly used in interpersonal negotiations because imitating another person's postures and expressions is an important social lubricant.
How do we learn to imitate with accuracy when we can't see our own facial expressions and we can't feel the facial expressions of others?
Branch retinal vein occlusion – blockage of the blood vessels that channel blood from the retina – is a common eye disease. A type of blood clot in the eye, the disease causes reduced vision, and people with the disease also typically have an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes and other serious conditions.
Mette Bertelsen from the University of Copenhagen and colleagues photographically verified the diagnosis of branch retinal vein occlusion in 1168 people.
In wrestling, we were always taught to watch the opponent's hips - because their head and their eyes were going to try and fake you out but hips don't lie.
Likewise, if you think that you can use facial expressions to determine if someone has just won the lottery or lost everything in the stock market, researchers say it just doesn't work that way. Rather, they found that body language provides a better cue in trying to judge whether an observed subject has undergone strong positive or negative experiences.
Psychologists from the University of Leicester have carried out eye tests to examine reading styles in young and old people and say there isn't just an eyesight issue - the way we read words changes as we grow older.
They digitally manipulated text, combined with precise measures of readers' eye movements, and say this provided new insight into how young and older adults use different visual cues during reading. Their experiments used precise measures of readers' eye movements to assess how well they read lines of text that had been digitally manipulated to enhance the salience of different visual information - sometimes the text was blurred and other times the features of the individual letters were sharply defined.
A new device called the Argus II has been implanted in over 50 patients, many of whom can now see color, movement and objects and researchers have even streamed braille patterns directly into a blind patient's retina, allowing him to read four-letter words accurately and quickly with the ocular neuroprosthetic device.
Argus II uses a small camera mounted on a pair of glasses, a portable processor to translate the signal from the camera into electrical stimulation and a microchip with electrodes implanted directly on the retina.
Does gaydar exist? If so, it's in the eyes.
Sexual orientation can be revealed by pupil dilation to attractive people, say researchers who used a specialized infrared lens to measure pupillary changes of participants watching erotic videos. Pupils were pretty accurate: they widened most to videos of people who participants found attractive, thereby revealing where they were on the sexual spectrum from heterosexual to homosexual.
Even if you are not aware of everything you take in, your eyes are sending visual information to your brain. This unconscious seeing is evidenced in a phenomenon called "blindsight", where people have no awareness, but their brains can see - even in subjects with visual impairment, caused by damage to a part of the brain called the visual cortex.
If you wear glasses, and they have been created recently, you are reading this article by looking through a tiny, transparent layer of nanomaterial. Anti-reflective coatings based on nanomaterials that reduce the amount of reflected light are used in most optical devices, including glasses, photo lenses, TV screens, solar cells and LED lights.
They could get better in the future. Some of the most efficient ARCs are made by mother nature and are found in the eyes of insects, like moths. The eyes of moths are covered with a layer of tiny bumps which are smaller than the wavelength of incoming light. This natural coating eliminates glare, hiding the moths from predators and improving their nocturnal vision. Some types of ARCs actually mimic the moth's eye.
People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) have an obsession relating to their body image, where they believe that they have a defect in their appearance.
BDD is estimated to affect one to two per cent of the population. Individuals with BDD engage with time-consuming compulsive behaviors such as mirror-checking, applying make-up to camouflage and seeking reassurance about their appearance.
Everyone has heard of hindsight - where the context of past events is much clearer in memory than they were at the time - but a new study of the blindsight phenomenon, where a person is cortically blind yet they can still discriminate visual information without any awareness, could make the architecture of the brain a lot clearer.
Toward that end, Tony Ro, a neuroscientist at the City College of New York, is artificially recreating blindsight in his lab. Sound scary? Just wait.