According to a recent study conducted at Melbourne University, our personality does not only affect our outlook on life. It also affects the very way we perceive reality. It turns out that having an open mind changes what we actually see in the world around us, by making us experience certain visual perceptions.
The study, “Seeing it both ways: Openness to experience and binocular rivalry suppression” surveyed 123 participants and measured their character and views. The test focused on five major categories of personality – extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Openness to experience, in this case, means the ability to keep an open mind, try new things, meet new people – in other words, the ability to explore and push past familiar boundaries.
The personality test followed by a visual test called “binocular rivalry.” This is a phenomenon that occurs when each eye is shown a different image. In this study, one eye is shown a red patch and the other shown a green spot. Naturally, most people react to the test by reducing their focus to only one of the pictures, as the brain can only perceive one at a time. However, those who tested high in openness were able to visually observe both photos at once, as one unified red-green image.
The hypothesis is that because open-minded people have shown higher levels of creativity, their minds can easily create new mental routes inside the head and connect things that other people would not be able to. “Because openness reflects the tendency to explore information actively and engages with complex possibilities (DeYoung, 2014), people high in openness may also be more likely to experience creative solutions to the incompatible rivalry stimuli”, the researchers said.
A previous old study from 2015 suggested similar results.
Open mindedness does change the way in which we see the world in profound ways and can help individuals to access much higher planes of experience and thought. Open minded people can literally see a reality that other people can not.