Graphic images that depict violence or eroticism blind us for a split second, according to new research on how the brain processes visual information.
The finding could explain why people have a hard time concentrating after seeing a particularly sexy photo, or after witnessing a car crash while driving.
Such images emotionally jolt us to such a degree that they temporarily impair our brain function.
“It may be the fact that violent and erotic images are so intense that leads them to elicit temporary impairments in visual processing,” explains Dr Steven Most, who worked on the research.
Findings will be published in this month’s Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.