You really can voluntarily alter the size of your pupils

The case of a young German man is making the scientific community debate. You really can voluntarily alter the size of your pupils.

Voluntary control over the autonomic nervous system is considered scientifically impossible. Or at least it used to be, because this acquisition has actually been questioned recently by an article that appeared in International Journal of Psychophysiology, a scientific journal, having as its subject a 23-year-old German man, whose initials are DW, who is able to dilate his pupils at will.

Is this a superpower? What does DW tell us about how our organism works?

The case of the German boy who can open and close his pupils at will

Notorially, pupil dilation occurs in environmental conditions characterized by scarcity of light or as a consequence of excitement. It is so for everyone except, apparently, for the 23-year-old German at the center of scientific and media attention. The authors of the study cited above have in fact measured that DW is able to expand his pupils by up to 0.8 millimeters and contract them by 2.4 millimeters, on command

As the scientists report, the boy is able to feel and activate his pupillary muscles directly: "It's surprising, since it was thought to be impossible," said the authors of the research.

Do people exist with the "superpower" to alter the size of the pupils on command?

It is good at this point to point out that there are some "tricks" that any of us might be able to use to make the pupils widen: imagine the light or shadow, make a big effort of concentration, etc.. The difference with the young German is that he doesn't use any of these tricks, and yet he manages to achieve even greater pupillary dilation than those who use the methods listed above.

The good thing is that the researchers have claimed to have been in contact with several other people who, it seems, have the same ability of the case study from which everything could have started: is it possible that this superpower, however widespread, has escaped us until today?

The human body never ceases to reserve curious and interesting surprises: for example, scientists have speculated that its evolution could have been influenced by climate. According to other theories, those who can enlarge their pupils could also be able to cheat on their intellectual faculties: there are those who argue, in fact, that the size of the pupils has been somehow linked to IQ.

Giuseppe Giordano