Why do people have headaches when they look at tall buildings? Scientists claim to have an answer
Since headaches are usually associated with excessive oxygen consumption, this may explain why some scenes cause us headaches.
Photo Credits: Alexander Macfarlane / Designpics / Profimedia
A study by psychology professor Arnold J. Wilkins at the University of Essex found that watching urban landscapes can actually cause headaches, CNN reports.
Over tens of thousands of years, the human brain has evolved to efficiently process scenes from the natural world. But the urban jungle poses a greater challenge to the brain, due to the recurring scenes we are surrounded by on a daily basis.
In nature, low spatial frequency components such as large lines have high contrast while high-frequency components such as small lines have low contrast. We can call this simple connection between spatial frequencies the law of nature.
Simply put, scenes from nature contain lines that cancel each other out, so that when they add up, they do not appear in the whole scene, which can make a person uncomfortable when looking at them.
Because repetitive patterns of urban architecture violate the rules of nature, it is more difficult for the human brain to process them efficiently and it is less comfortable to look at them. Some patterns, such as lines on rugs, carpets, and stair treads, can trigger headaches and even epileptic seizures.
"We analyzed images of apartment buildings and found that in the last 100 years, building design has moved further and further away from the rules of nature, says Wilkins.
Research has found that the rules of nature not only predicts levels of discomfort but also predicts how much oxygen the brain uses. That is, our brain uses more oxygen when we watch scenes that deviate from the "rules".
Since headaches are usually associated with excessive oxygen consumption, this may explain why some designs cause us headaches.
Indeed, some people with migraines cannot function in some modern offices because certain patterns cause headaches every time they enter the building.
Of course, some repetitive patterns are an inevitable result of modular construction. But many lines of modern design are there quite unnecessarily, simply as design features - to catch the eye.
By: Amber V. - Gossip Whispers