How seeing changes your brain.
Your eyes aren’t just advanced visual systems capturing images of what’s around you. New research published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that when our eyes perceive visual stimuli, it gets encoded in our brains in ways that change our emotional reactions.
Researchers found that even people who don’t have anxiety disorders respond visually at the sight of something scary while ignoring signs that indicate safety. This contradicts a common belief that only people with anxiety disorders have difficulty processing comforting visual stimuli, or “safety cues.”
The study results could help distinguish between normal and abnormal processes within the visual cortex and identify what parts of the brain are targets for the treatment of anxiety disorders.