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Medical Why we think better with closed eyes? What about a blind person?

  1. Aug 16, 2016 #1
    To think something with full concentration I close my eyes. I believe many people also do it. It seemed to work and generates good thoughtful results. May be because with eyes closed brain is free to handle the billions of photons coming from eyes. In a noise-free room concentration should be even better. Is it the reason for getting the better result? Then if a learned man at his middle-age become blind (accidentally or purposely) then should he be able to perform better in solving problems, in psychology, in intelligent analysis etc.? Because his visual system is fully free always. We talk so much about photons, rods, cones, retinas, brain, perceptions etc. How all these matter for a blind person? How is their world?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2016 #2
    The affects for a blind person can be more that the temporary shutdown of the visual processing that a sighted person accomplishes by shutting their eyes.

    There are studies on brain "plasticity" showing sections of the brain expanding in response to learning.
    Finding studies on this that are not behind pay-walls is a bit difficult. Here are a few that are pay-walled:

    [URL]http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v15/n4/abs/nn.3045.html[/URL] [URL]http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661311001707[/URL]

    Here is a quote from an article on Einstein's brain:
    [quote]When a group of researchers examined his brain in a 2009 study, they discovered an unusual degree of development in his motor cortex, an area that controls movement. The enlarged area occurred on a part of the motor cortex that links up with the body’s left hand—the hand that musicians typically use to play the violin. In fact, Einstein had been a violin aficionado since he was a child, and this fine motor skill had translated to a clear bulge in this part of the brain as it developed in response to his ability. (Researchers do note that this is a speculative link since it’s based only on the photographs of Einstein’s brain—but it’s a pretty convincing theory, nevertheless.)[/quote]

    The visual cortex is pretty large. I doubt it would be left idle for decades. It seems likely to me that if unused for sight, it would be used for other things (as you suggested) or pushed aside to make room for unrelated skills.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  4. Aug 16, 2016 #3
  5. Aug 16, 2016 #4
    Thanks. Going to read.
  6. Aug 17, 2016 #5
    My best guess is that this is an attentional phenomenon. That is, the brain assigns more processing to those elements of experience that are being attended to. Thus with your eyes open it must still deal with the visual processing stream and generate a conscious experience of the external scene (and of course, everything else going on as well). Close your eyes and more attention can be assigned purely to internal processing. I guess it's the same thing as finding it hard to concentrate on two things at once, eg conducting a conversation while driving in heavy traffic at speed, or studying with loud music in the next room.
  7. Aug 17, 2016 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Also, without visual stimuli, don't people feel more relaxed? I don't have the studies (although I am sure there are some, and I do not have the time to look them up). Anecdote alert: I have noticed that while lying in bed in the morning that when a cloud covers the sun there is an instant drop in my stress, my whole body relaxes, and I'm sure it would be picked up by a blood pressure monitor. then as the sun reappears, my stress elevates again, then the sudden cloud cover and suddenly my entire body relaxes so noticeably that it startles me, I'm suddenly so relaxed and feel so well. I wonder have any studies been done about stress induced by bright light/sunlight? I have now covered my windows with black curtains.
  8. Aug 17, 2016 #7
    Heh, I'm the opposite I think. Cloud over the sun and my mood goes down, sunlight streaming in the window in the morning and I'm good to go!
  9. Aug 17, 2016 #8

    Fervent Freyja

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    Do you take melatonin? You may need it! I know that working with computers has been said to lower melatonin levels! We need it to fall asleep (mine is naturally wacked up).

    In[/PLAIN] [Broken] vertebrates, melatonin secretion is regulated by norepinephrine. Norepinephrine elevates the intracellular cAMP concentration via beta-adrenergic receptors and activates the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA). PKA phosphorylates the penultimate enzyme, the arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT). On exposure to (day)light, noradrenergic stimulation stops and the protein is immediately destroyed by proteasomal proteolysis.[74] Production of melatonin is again started in the evening at the point called the dim-light melatonin onset.

    Blue light, principally around 460 to 480 nm, suppresses melatonin,[75] proportional to the light intensity and length of exposure. Until recent history, humans in temperate climates were exposed to few hours of (blue) daylight in the winter; their fires gave predominantly yellow light.[citation needed] The incandescent light bulb widely used in the 20th century produced relatively little blue light.[76] Light containing only wavelengths greater than 530 nm does not suppress melatonin in bright-light conditions.[77] Wearing glasses that block blue light in the hours before bedtime may decrease melatonin loss. Use of blue-blocking goggles the last hours before bedtime has also been advised for people who need to adjust to an earlier bedtime, as melatonin promotes sleepiness.[78]

    The pathways in the visual cortex can be used for other purposes, like 'seeing with sound' for many people with blindness. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC544930/
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  10. Aug 18, 2016 #9
    Interesting observation Freyja . Nature do affect our emotions . I feel it is linked with our various past memorable joy and sorrow experiences of life. I may have my favorite memory happened on a sunny or cloudy day and brain linked it with it forever. It mainly happens when we are grown up and faced enough experiences of life. By covering the curtain you can block your old emotion coming in front of your path . I try various similar ways to block my bitter memories and bring my favorite memories. After all we don't have the machine shown in the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" .
  11. Aug 18, 2016 #10

    Fervent Freyja

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    Well, aren't you just intriguing... What favorite memory?
  12. Aug 18, 2016 #11
    Some rare favorite memories rooted deep inside my brain like childhood plays, picnic, romantic moments etc. When I think about Melatonin , hormone etc. then don't know if we control ourselves or nature controls us.
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