Art by Alex Grey
Just 10 Minutes of staring into someone’s eyes will let you experience reality in a completely different way. Are you ready to try…?
10 Minutes of Staring into Someone’s Eyes Can Induce Altered State of Consciousness
Was it ever so easy to induce an altered state of consciousness? Normally you would have to take psychedelic drugs or meditate for weeks or longer to experience an altered state of consciousness. Now we can do it by simply looking each other in the eyes for about 10 minutes…
It was the Italian Giovanni Caputo from the university of Urbino who came to this conclusion after having 20 volunteers divided into pairs and having them stare into each others eyes in a room filled with soft light at a distance of 1 meter apart. The room was dimly lit to reduce to volunteers’ colour perception. But there was enough light to distinguish the facial features.
Caputo prepared a control group as well, also comprised of 20 volunteers, and with similar conditions: same light intensity, also in pairs, but the difference was that they had to stare into a blank wall.
A noteworthy comment is that the volunteers were not informed about the objective of the experiment. It was only mentioned they had to go into a meditative state.
After the ten minutes the volunteers were asked certain questions, mostly about if they experienced any dissociative symptoms during the experiment and another one was about the perception of their partners face. With dissociative is meant any condition that involves disruptions of perception, awareness or identity. Meaning anything that makes you experience reality in a altered way.
Many remarkable experiences were reported such as reduced color intensity, altered time perception and higher sensitivity to sounds. Moreover, 90% of participants claimed their partner’s face appeared deformed – 75% had hallucinations of monsters, 50% saw their own facial features and 15% saw a relative in their partner’s face.
The results of this experiment were similar to one Caputo did back in 2010, in that particular experiment volunteers were asked to stare at their reflection in the mirror for 10 minutes. Some results started happening within 1 minute: some saw their parents’ faces, others – archetypal faces, such as an old woman or an ancestor’s portrait. Some even reported they had seen animals and monstrous creatures in their faces. Caputo then described this kind of hallucinations as the “strange-face illusion“.
So why does staring into someone’s eyes cause such seemingly random hallucinations? According to Caputo, an altered state of consciousness occurs due to sensory deprivation. He suggests that the brain enters a dissociative state because of the lack of sensory stimulation and when it snaps back to reality, the person’s subconscious thoughts are projected onto the face of their partner, causing these “strange-face apparitions.”
Such a fascinating phenomenon, this proves once again how infinitely diverse and unfathomable our brain really is. There are still so many mysteries around it that need an explanation. Will we ever get those?