Staring into someone's eyes can make you drugged

Science Alert recently released the result of research by Italian psychologist Giovanni Caputo of the University of Urbino. Basically, this guy figured out how to get a person into another level of consciousness without using any drugs, and the way this is possible is what makes it all the more curious.

The tests done by Caputo were attended by 20 adult volunteers (15 women and 5 men). Sitting in pairs in a dimly lit room about 1 meter apart, all they had to do was stare into the eyes of the person sitting in front for 10 minutes.

Another group of 20 volunteers was instructed to sit and stare, also for 10 minutes, the same thing. This time it was not eye contact with another person, but with a white wall. At this point, people hardly knew what the purpose of the research was - they were just informed of the importance of keeping their eyes fixed.

After the 10 minutes, participants had to answer a series of questions related to how they felt during and after the experience. The questions were about their own feelings and also what they noticed when looking at the other person. The idea was to know if the participants had dissociative symptoms, which are those that make the person feel disconnected from the reality around them.

These dissociative symptoms include distorted perceptions of color, a feeling that the world is not real, and memory loss. This can all be caused by the use of drugs like alcohol, LSD and ketamine. Now, after Caputo's study, we can see that this can also be caused when one person stares into another's eyes for 10 minutes.

The psychologist said these participants reported completely new sensations as they had never had before. What's more, the crowd from eye to eye scored far better than those who stared at the white wall. This may suggest that this long and uninterrupted eye contact profoundly affects our state of visual and mental perception.

Researcher Christian Jarrett also commented on the results of the study. He said eye-to-eye participants reported changes in the way they saw colors, perceived sounds, and even their notions of time and space.

Regarding the faces of the people they were looking at, 90% of respondents said they noticed facial changes. Of those, 75% said they saw monsters, 50% said they saw traces of their own physiognomy on their partner, and 15% reported seeing faces of family members.

Seven years ago, Caputo had performed a similar test, with 50 volunteers staring at themselves for 10 minutes in a mirror. In this test, even before the first minute was over, the volunteers were already looking at their reflected image with the feeling that they were staring at a stranger.

This time Caputo believes that the effects were even stronger than those felt by the mirror exercise volunteers. This is apparently due to a phenomenon known as neural adaptation, which is nothing more than a change in the way our neurons respond to uninterrupted stimuli. In some cases, some neuronal activities may simply be interrupted.

This phenomenon can happen when we stare at the same spot for several minutes at a time. At such times, our visual perceptions will undergo some bizarre changes and only return to normal when we blink or stop looking at the same point. And have you had any similar experience? Tell us in the comments!