Open-Minded People Experience A Completely Different Reality, Study Suggests

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Surely, there is obviously a big difference between close-minded people and open-minded people, would you agree? However, the question is: just how deep does this difference go exactly? Let’s examine the matter a little further.

A recent psychological study explored this difference focusing on the question what kind of reality these individuals lived in. It seems most open-minded people actually experience a completely different type of reality than others. The study was conducted at the University of Melbourne in Australia and is titled “Seeing it both ways: Openness to experience and binocular rivalry suppression.”

For this study, a group of 123 people of different backgrounds were analyzed thoroughly. These subjects underwent a test for open-mindedness through five different categories. Those categories include conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, and the ability to maintain an open mind in general. After all of this, the authors of the study then tested individuals for a phenomenon known as binocular rivalry which is something that occurs when each of the human eyes is shown a different image (one green and one red). Most of the subjects switched back and forth between the two images but some of them merged the two images into a single red-green patch.

Authors discovered that those individuals who saw both images together were the ones who had higher results on the openness test in general. This led the team of researchers to hypothesize that open-minded persons seem to establish new mental routes in their minds and attain higher planes of thinking. They also noted open-minded individuals were more creative which indicates that creative people perceive the world differently as well.

These findings seem to correlate with several previous studies that suggested open-minded people experienced things much differently than most people do. Science Direct says as follows on the study:

“For instance, openness predicts performance on divergent thinking tasks (Kaufman et al., 2016; Silvia et al., 2008), which require one to identify multiple diverse uses for ordinary objects. For open people this seems to happen effortlessly, suggesting a more flexible way of combining information, perhaps even at low-levels of perceptual processing. For example, people high in openness display reductions in latent inhibition (i.e., attenuated attentional processing following repeated stimulus exposure) suggesting individual differences in preconscious attentional mechanisms (Peterson & Carson, 1999; Peterson, Smith, & Carson, 2002). Latent inhibition reflects an adaptive attentional ‘gating’ system for screening out irrelevant information, but for open people this system appears to be more flexible, resulting in the continued processing of stimuli from which the average individual has disengaged. However, we are aware of no previous research examining whether openness relates to how people actually see visual stimuli.”

Have you ever thought of what differs open-minded from close-minded people? What is your opinion on this subject? We believe it makes quite a sense when you get to ponder over it. Considering the enormous contrast between open-minded and close-minded people there had to be something more to it. You can read the full version of this psychological study here and feel free to watch the TED talk below.

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