VSL:SCIENCE // Size does matter

The next time you stub your toe, take out a telescope and look at your foot through the wrong end: According to researchers at Oxford University, such visual distortions have a powerful effect on how we perceive pain.

The scientists found that subjects who looked at a wounded hand through the right end of a pair of binoculars felt more pain and experienced increased swelling in that limb. But when the binoculars were flipped around, the suffering and swelling were lessened dramatically. The trick’s no replacement for a healthy supply of painkillers, but the study does demonstrate the extent to which bodily pain is a by-product of what we see.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. VSL:SCIENCE // Size does matter