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- A PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACH TO AUTOKINESIS
- Tureng - autokinesis - French English Dictionary
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Indiana Public Media | WFIU - NPR | WTIU - PBS
A PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACH TO AUTOKINESIS
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Tureng - autokinesis - French English Dictionary
Change institution. Rent or Buy article Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube. References 1 Guilford, J. Article Google Scholar 2 Kleint, H. Google Scholar 3 Kylstra, J. Google Scholar 5 Aubert, H. Article Google Scholar 6 Whitteridge, D. Google Scholar 7 Rashbass, C. Google Scholar 9 Verheijen, F.
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In fact, you've been in good company throughout history. At the turn of the 19th century, long before your personal dot started to dance, German astronomer Alexander von Humboldt ran into this same phenomenon. Stargazing without his telescope, he perceived some stars in the sky to be moving. He decided this was an important discovery, and termed it "Sternschwanken," or "swinging stars.
It took decades for the scientific community to realize that von Humboldt hadn't unearthed secret star movements so much as the secret movements of his own eyes. See, the human eye moves a lot throughout the day, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily. When you have a stable point of reference in your field of vision alongside the bright dot, your brain can edit out your eye movements, removing any blurring or twitchiness in what you see. However, when your entire field of vision is filled with a white dot against a dark background — or in von Humboldt's case, multiple white dots — you lose the ability to distinguish between movements of your eye and movements of the dot.
So when your eye muscles start to fatigue from staring and it causes slight eye movements , you mistakenly attribute the movement to whatever you're looking at.
This powerful optical illusion is called the autokinetic effect. This optical illusion is hard for human beings to cope with. We tend to trust our eyes over our other senses — you're more likely to hear an indignant "I saw it with my own eyes! Von Humboldt only came up with the first of many ways of coping.
His "swinging stars" theory has been debunked, but it's since been neatly replaced with the idea of UFOs. Many UFO sightings are, in fact, the autokinetic effect in action. The effect also explains why staring at the sky intensely, searching for UFOs around say, Area 51 , helps you "find" them — the act of staring triggers the illusion of motion.