20,000 take part in Perception Census

How would it feel to see the world through someone else’s eyes?


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Major new citizen science programme, The Perception Census, is leading the way in cultivating understanding around the unique ways in which we each experience the world

Tens of thousands of people around the world are taking part in The Perception Census, an ongoing scientific study aiming to uncover the fascinating but invisible ways that our minds are each unique - making it the largest study of its kind, and the first major citizen science project in the world into perceptual diversity.

The online study, led by world-leading researchers Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience Anil Seth from the University of Sussex and Professor of Philosophy Fiona Macpherson from the University of Glasgow as part of the Dreamachine programme and commissioned by UNBOXED Creativity in the UK, addresses questions about perception that have baffled, and divided, philosophers and scientists for centuries.

Since launching in July 2022, nearly 20,000 people have taken part in the study, and initial analysis of responses is demonstrating just how unique each person’s inner world can be. Professor Anil Seth and Professor Fiona Macpherson, along with the research team, believe that learning more about the science behind these differences could help cultivate humility and empathy for others, helping build new platforms for understanding and communication that are increasingly needed in today’s fragmented and polarised world.

Professor Anil Seth said: “The Perception Census has the potential to rewrite our understanding of how we each experience a unique world, and to help society as a whole build new platforms for empathy and communication by embedding a recognition that the way we see things might not be the way they are, and that we all experience our shared reality in richly diverse ways. The Census will be an invaluable resource - providing us with a new map to this fascinating hidden landscape.”