Damian Ray posted an update 2 weeks, 3 days ago
(Yes, just like left-handed/right-handedness, we all tend to rely on one eye over the other – left or the right.) To the dominant eye, two meaningless images of multiple color (noise pictures) were presented. To the non-dominant eye, two images were presented; however, one of these images was an erotic picture (both male and female, selected from the IAPS albums), and the other was the same picture but in scrambled form (control picture). What the researchers were attempting is technically known as backward masking. And, very importantly, the participants were not provided with any prior information on the content of the images that they were going to see.Since the two eyes were presented with different sets of images, what is known as “binocular rivalry” took place between the eyes. Who wins in this rivalry? The dominant eye did. In the above instance, the erotic picture and its scrambled counterpart became invisible, and the participants only saw the noise.After 0.8 seconds of seeing this image, something called a “Gabor Patch” was randomly overlapped on the erotic picture or the control image before the same eye that saw them. This patch is an abstract shape that throws the viewer off balance, and prevents them from linking one set of images with the following set. The viewer was asked to report whether they saw the Gabor Patch hiding the erotic picture, or whether they saw it hiding the control picture. Then the sets of images were swapped – the dominant eye got to see the erotic picture + control picture set, while the non-dominant eye saw noise. Again the Gabor Patch was shown; and this process continued. Each time the images were shown for only 0.8 seconds, not enough for the Why Are There Sexual Images In Temples? conscious mind to capture the image, and thus qualified to be called “invisible”. The real crux of the experiment was to test the participants’ ability to accurately judge whether the Gabor Patch overlapped the erotic picture, or the control picture.Results We like sex! Or rather, we gravitate towards our sexual preferences. This was the conclusion reached at the end of the experiment. When the Gabor patch hid an erotic picture that a participant liked (was sexually oriented towards), the participant pinpointed this fact with high degree of accuracy. Very pertinently, erotica that was not in tune with their sex preference was rejected outright.For the researchers, the main focus of attention was the impact of gender and sexual orientation over the reaction of an individual’s emotional system towards the erotica they were subliminally seeing (invisible pictures). To us lay folks – still unsure about the power of subliminality; the main focus is that the human mind can subliminally see things that they naturally gravitate to. Despite being invisible (they saw erotica of their liking for _only_ 0.8 seconds), they could see it!There is yet another interesting observation that the paper makes – totally missed out by popular media. The participants were not as attuned towards an erotic image of their liking when it was presented to the dominant eye, as it was when the image was presented to the non-dominant eye! It was as if the conscious mind tried to hide its true feelings about the sex images that it was seeing.