Anyone who has been jogging in the gym has encountered an interesting phenomenon. The moment you finish practicing and step down from the treadmill, you will feel like you are walking faster. Is it your feeling, an illusion or is your foot still running like that on the machine?
This phenomenon was discovered and recorded by Adar Pelah, a vision researcher from the 1990s, when he was a Cambridge student. Pelah reported his observations for the first time in a scientific journal in 1996, starting a series of studies on “treadmill illusion“.
Featured in these studies is an experiment that shows: When people run on machines for 10 minutes and step outside. The researchers then took a piece of the eyepatch and told them to try to stand still. As a result, the researchers will see them moving forward, but the blindfolded people themselves, they still think that they are only standing still.
What has happened?
What is a treadmill illusion? Article 100% anyone who has ever jogged in the gym will see
To explain this phenomenon, we have to go back to the time when you were still on a treadmill. At that time, your body is moving, it tends to move forward. But the sight shows that you are still standing.
Optical flow – the images you see moving through your eyes as you move – will almost stand still when you run on a treadmill. It is completely different than when you run on a real road.
Starting the moment you step down from the treadmill, suddenly the whole universe moves in front of your visual field. With this sudden flow of optical flow, your brain will underestimate the speed it receives, giving you the feeling you’re speeding up, Pelah said.
Optical flow – the images you see moving through your eyes as you move – will almost stand still when you run on a treadmill.
But that’s when you open your eyes, and what about blindfolded? Now, with vision completely lost, you have to use the rest of your body’s senses to position yourself in space, including the movements of fluid in the ear canal and a sixth sense that scientists call proprioception.
Deep inside the ear canal that your eyes cannot see, there are 3 semi-circular shaped tubes that act as 3 axes of a camera gimbal.
They lie 90 degrees away from each other. The lining in each of these semi-piercings is full of tiny hairs. In addition, they also contain 2 layers of viscous liquid. Scientists call it internal fluid and external fluid (endolymph and cupula).
When you run on a machine or cause loud vibrations to your body, these liquids flow into the ear canal. That flow hits the delicate hairs, causing them to move back and forth.
Semiconductor tubes in the ear canal contain fluid that helps you position yourself in space.
The ear receives a signal indicating the direction in which the hairs are moving, and uses nerve cells to send signals to the brain with all that information. The brain will use the hairs’ signals to compensate as it reproduces visual images.
Because you are running on a machine with a stationary optical flow, the vibrations of the hairs have to compensate for the stationary, they seem to be negative. On a treadmill, you must constantly move forward to keep your vision field in place.
Whenever you stand still on a treadmill, your visual field will step back and you are actually backing away, so when blindfolded after getting off the treadmill, your body with substances The liquid in the ear canal thinks it needs moving forward to keep you in place.
Volunteers who think they are standing still at this moment are actually going forward without knowing it. It takes a few minutes for everything to correct.
“This is a multi-sensory illusion“, Pelah said.”You have to control muscles at the same time to experience visual information“Experiments on the” treadmill illusion “have helped scientists confirm there is a bridge between the optic nerve system and our motor control.
Next time you go to the gym, try it out for yourself.
For people who regularly run on the machine, the brain can automatically compensate for these movements and get used to it. Treadmill illusion will sometimes disappear. But for most people, when running on a computer is not a regular habit, this illusion will always appear.
So, the next time you go to the gym, try it out for yourself. If you’re going to design a blindfold experiment with your friends, just make sure the space in front of them is safe enough, there’s no wall or machine in the way, no dumbbells or any bars on the ground.
Do not forget to record the video to show your blindfolded friend that they are moving forward, not just standing still.