Even though we close our eyes, can we perceive place?

For example, if we close our eyes, we see darkness and black color, then do we see dark place and black place?

  • We perceive the place right behind our eye lids.
    – armand
    Jul 27, 2021 at 12:07

2 Answers 2


Most people can picture things and places when their eyes are closed. Some people apparently can't. These people are said to have aphantasia. If you're asking this question, maybe that's you? People with aphantasia say they use words and concepts to represent things they're thinking about, rather than drawing mental pictures. It is not a disability, just a different way of processing. Many successful people have had aphantasia.

When a person who does not have aphantasia pictures something, it's different from looking at the back of their eyelids. People without aphantasia form mental pictures that don't involve their eyes at all. The image forms in a separate mental "place" that is not any place their eyes are seeing.


We have a minimum of 4 other senses to perceive our surroundings. By some counts we have at least 42 senses, though many of them are of internal states. We constantly seek consilience, convergence of evidence from different senses, to help us decide what is real.

We build up a mental collation of information about our surroundings. Our focal area for vision is actually very small, and it's only by our eyes darting about that we feel we see the world in focus. What we are not currently focused is held in a mental model that is updated with each visual sweep. Other senses, like proprioception and balance help us locate ourselves in the mental picture. It's been found the human brain seems to be in two halves in order for one to focus on a picture of the world, the other half on ourselves https://www.nature.com/articles/483260a People who become blind reallocate their visual cortex to collate inputs from other senses, typically within about 3 months.

Proprioception, our sense of where our body & bone joints are, can be used to map distances between things encountered when unable to see, for instance. Blind people get attuned to information about surfaces & size and shape of rooms from sound, in ways sighted people are likely to miss.

Just like our visual perceptions, the information from other senses can be held in our mental model of the world. It will just be updated more slowly than visual inputs, of course, and may require actively seeking data like moving around and getting tactile feedback (eg a white cane). Training helps a lot, our brains allocate resources based on how we use them.

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