A large study carried out shows that we may be oblivious to signs of aliens and we are looking for them in the wrong way – and that is because we still do not understand some of the mysteries of the universe, including dark matter.
In a study of 137 people, researchers asked to look at aerial photographs and asked to distinguish images with artificial structures such as buildings and roads from others with natural elements such as mountains and rivers.
In one of the images, a small character dressed as a gorilla would walk in front of the scene, but in the same image, the participant was asked to count how many times a person in a white shirt would throw a ball.
More than half of the participants did not notice the gorilla character – which the experts call inattentional blindness.
The authors of the study state this shows that human neurophysiology, psychology and consciousness can block out things that are right in front of us if we are focussing on the wrong thing.
Neuropsychologist Gabriel de la Torre from the University of Cádiz said of the study published in the journal Acta Astronautica: “When we think of other intelligent beings, we tend to see them from our perceptive and conscience sieve; however we are limited by our sui generis (unique) vision of the world, and it’s hard for us to admit it.
“What we are trying to do with this differentiation is to contemplate other possibilities. For example, beings of dimensions that our mind cannot grasp; or intelligences based on dark matter or energy forms, which make up almost 95% of the universe and which we are only beginning to glimpse. There is even the possibility that other universes exist.
“The results of the test are very striking, but very significant and representative at the same time, how our brain works.
“Before doing the test to see the inattentional blindness we assessed the participants with a series of questions to determine their cognitive style (if they were more intuitive or rational), and it turned out that the intuitive individuals identified the gorilla of our photo more times than those more rational and methodical.
“If we transfer this to the problem of searching for other non-terrestrial intelligences, the question arises about whether our current strategy may result in us not perceiving the gorilla.
“Our traditional conception of space is limited by our brain, and we may have the signs above and be unable to see them. Maybe we’re not looking in the right direction.”