Some Say It’s Like Tripping… But Without The Substances
In an experiment, run by psychologist Giovanni Caputo from the University of Urbin, 20 volunteers were asked to sit and stare into each other’s eyes for 10 minutes straight. Volunteers were told very minute detail about the purpose of the study, Caputo only disclosed that it was about a “meditative experience with eyes open”. The results of this simple experiment were a bit mind boggling; Participants reported experiencing a drug-free altered state of consciousness, characterized by “out-of-body” sensations, disassociation from reality, time dilation, spacey feeling, and hallucinations. Most said they began to see their partners face morph and change right before their eyes!
Following the ten minute experiment participants were given a questionnaire to analyze their experiences. The journal of Psychiatry Research published a report on their responses, here are the results:
- 90% of the group said they had seen deformed facial traits
- 75% claimed they had seen a monster
- 50% saw aspects of their own face in their partner
- 15% had seen their relative’s face
“The participants in the eye-staring group said they’d had a compelling experience unlike anything they’d felt before,” Christian Jarrett writes for the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.
Here is how you can try it at home!
- Get a partner who is curious and comfortable to try it with you (or see below how you can do this alone)
- Make sure you have a quiet space where you will be uninterrupted for at least 10 minutes
- Set up seating so that you can comfortably face each other at about 1 meter (3 ft.) apart.
- Dimly light the room so that you can still easily make out all of your partners features but overall color perception is diminished.
- Set a timer 10 ten minutes and begin, try not to speak or look away during this time.
Want to try this RIGHT NOW, but have nobody around to gaze at? No problem! Another experiment done in 2010 concluded similar results with volunteers who gazed into their own eyes in a mirror. Simply follow the same steps with just yourself and a mirror.
In 2010, Caputo performed a similar experiment with 50 volunteers staring at themselves in a mirror for 10 minutes. After less than 10 minutes the volunteers experienced the “strange-face illusion.” All 50 participants reported feelings of ‘otherness. The volunteers said they saw wild deformations of their own faces, faces of their parents alive or deceased, an old woman/man, child or the portrait of an ancestor, animal faces and even fantastical and monstrous beings.
I tried this with recently with my best friend and was mind blown, I wasn’t expecting much but I literally saw her face changing right before my eyes. This makes me wonder why something so simple causes such intense results, what do you think?