After Anne Strieber’s stroke, she found she had trouble recognizing faces and finding her way around, a problem that eventually went away. Researchers think both talents are based in our genes. This is one of the subjects she discusses with Russell Targ on Dreamland. Want to talk to Anne in person? Come meet her in Nashville in June!
Imagine that you are emerging from the subway and heading for your destination when you realize that you are going in the wrong direction. For a moment, you feel disoriented, but landmarks and the layout of the surrounding streets quickly help you pinpoint your location, and you make it to your appointment with time to spare.
Humans, rats, chicks and even fish routinely and automatically accomplish this kind of “reorientation” by mentally visualizing the geometry of their surroundings and figuring out where they are in space. Birds have magnets in their heads to help them tell direction. Scientists want to know if genes may play a part in that ability in humans.
Researcher Barbara Landau says, “We found that people with a rare genetic disorder cannot use one of the very basic systems of navigation that is present in humans as early as 18 months and shared across a wide range of species. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence from human studies of a link between the missing genes and the system that we use to reorient ourselves in space.”
Researchers have found that the genes that allow people to recognize faces are linked to a highly specific place in the brain. PhysOrg.com quotes neuroscientist Brad Duchaine as saying, “Our [test] results show that genetic differences are responsible for the great majority of the difference in face recognition ability between people.” When he gave identical twins (who share all of their genes) and non-identical same-sex twins (who share 50%) the same facial recognition test, which measured their ability to learn 6 faces and then recognize them in unusual poses and different lighting, the identical twins scored twice as high on the test than the non-identicals.
So if you’re a person who has trouble finding your way around or if you often introduce yourself to someone you discover you already know, then you can blame your genes!
You may be able to blame your genes for some of the things you see and experience as well, since our analysis of the thousands of letters we received from experiencers indicated that this runs in families and is especially prevalent among certain genetic groups (such as the Irish). Anne Strieber has started a series of special interviews, just for subscribers, with abductees and experiencers, so if you want to know what contact is REALLY LIKE, don’t miss these incredible interviews.
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Art credit: Dreamstime.com
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