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Blinfolded Reading (?) February 22, 2010

Posted by Wilz in Education, Science.
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My dad is pretty excited about some of his friends’ children apparently learning to read anything – newspapers, notes you write and hold in front of them – while blindfolded. Some can, while blindfolded, ride a bicycle, find their parents in a crowd, fill in colors on a line graphic, etc. Apparently this have existed in Russia and Japan for years, Russia takes 1 year to master, Japan takes 3 months to learn it, but the new Malaysian technique takes only 2 days training. (Googling for it only returns Malaysian hits though. Someone Google this in Japanese/Russian for me?) It only mostly works for kids between 5-12.

The trainer have trained thousands of kids all over Malaysia, is apparently franchising overseas to Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The training is marketed as ‘midbrain’ activation, or activation of the ‘mesencephalon’ (bridge between left and right brain), which is allegedly good for all kinds of things – memory, concentration, creativity, sports (i.e. you name it, we got it). The blindfolded reading is not the intention, but is just a ‘proof’ of successful midbrain activation, and is explained by using the brainwave to ‘scan’ stuff in substitution of reading.

[EDIT 2013: Their site no longer contains literature on the ‘mid brain’ or the ‘mesencephalon’. Everywhere the term ‘mid brain activation’ have been replaced with just ‘brain activation’ or the term ‘super sensory’. However, their customers still refer to it as ‘mid brain’ activation – as can be seen in many YouTube videos such as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eHeECJPIqE or the YouTube search link below.]

Although I am still highly skeptical about the blinfolded reading itself, the trainer have successfully built up quite a strong public ‘first-hand witness’ support – googling ‘blindfold reading’ and ‘midbrain activation’ have brought up tons of links, even youtube videos, and apparently our Prime Minister Badawi himself have witnessed this and approved a project under Ling Liong Sik. I think it’ll be easier to challenge what this claims to be. [Paragraph edited in 2013 for clarity.]

Let’s get the links out of the way:

To his credit, the trainer isn’t trying to turn this into some kind of mystic, spiritual or religious mumbo-jumbo. To his money-making credit, that makes a lot of sense as well, since he does want religious parents to pay RM 600++ to send their kinds for this.

Some points:

  • I am willing to allow the first hand reports I’ve heard/read (including my father’s word) that these children are learning to see through a blindfold. There’s too many of them.
  • The training method is not 100% known – parents are not allowed in during the training, to protect the training method as an intellectual property, it is claimed.
  • I don’t believe that this guy knows for sure scientifically what he’s doing. Perhaps he figured out how to teach kids to see through a blindfold, and needs a better way to market his training. Seeing with your eyes closed is usually pretty useless to those with eyes after all. Maybe.
  • We need to get a scientist in here.

I initially thought this was hypnosis induced synaesthesia, i.e. switching of the senses. Seeing with sound, hearing with your sense of smell, tasting shapes, thinking of colors as numbers. The Borneo Post article seems to suggest that some kids ended up with this since some did smell or touch the cards. The guy’s website claims that what he teaches isn’t synaesthesia (in his website, he refers to this as third eye training, and differentiates himself).

[EDIT 2013: Thanks to my skeptic doctor friend Sen Wai (http://k0ks3nw4i.blogspot.com/) – I came to re-read the literature on synaesthesia and understood that this is not how it works. Synaesthesia is not a replacement of one sense with another sense, but more like cross talk between the senses in the brain. Seeing numbers in color, or hearing sounds when seeing certain patterns etc. It doesn’t ‘replace vision with hearing’ for example. I’ve edited references to it in this article.]

Apart from the science behind this, i.e. how it works, and whether it actually is the left-right brain bridge being ’empowered’ somehow, what I’d like to know is:

  • the success rate of the training (how many kids end up reading through a blindfold, apparently it’s 100% atm),
  • the actual rates of attaining the ‘real benefits’ of midbrain activation as claimed by the training (memory, improving at studies, sports, etc), and
  • the retention rate – how many retain or lose this ability as they grow up.

If the company is serious about maintaining this, then they should commission some research to obtain the above statistics. If of course they’re reluctant, we’ll know why.

Part of being a skeptic is keeping an open mind after all, and a major part of being a scientist (or science lover) is retaining your sense of amazement at the natural wonders of the world without having to give it a nonsense explanation. Having said all the above, WTF this is amazing! (If actually true.) I’d love to get some opinions/independent research bout this.

Someone get Michael Shermer in here!

(And someone get me one of those kids so I can interrogate him/her.)

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Comments»

1. Tim - February 23, 2010

Interesting. Seemingly ironclad but I’m suspicious of the “Apparently this have existed in Russia and Japan for years, Russia takes 1 year to master, Japan takes 3 months to learn it, but the new Malaysian technique takes only 2 days training” part though.

And surely not all kids are dumb, I’d like to see first hand accounts of what he teaches. Hook one up with a recorder or something.

2. neena - April 18, 2010

I’ve found this as I was just googling myself about what ‘blindfold reading’ is and whether it really exists in other countries esp Russia.

http://www.bronnikovmethod.com

3. Wilz - April 19, 2010

Oooh nice find. Unfortunately more of the same marketing drivel, little actual hard evidence presented. Bah.

4. sancaka - August 2, 2010

gmc is in indonesia too, and many people know it is hoax.

5. rasia - September 8, 2010

yup
this link from Randi foundation might help
http://www.randi.org/jr/022202.html

6. Rahasia membaca dengan mata tertutup kain | Berita dan Fakta Ilmiah Harian - September 8, 2010
7. rasia - September 8, 2010

hi there
i made a same review here
however, it is in indonesian
i hope you understand
http://www.faktailmiah.com/2010/09/08/aktivasi-otak-tengah.html

8. Activated - March 30, 2011

Actually it works lol. i went through it. it was serious mind f*** cause i seriously never knew that. ahah i now pay wii blindfolded. my sis sees 50m away. in the dark, blind folded. its probably the coolest thing i ever did.
ps im 16, and they let me in

9. Wilz - March 30, 2011

Congratulations – you’re now a millionaire! Quick go and claim your prize:
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

Prove a paranormal ability and claim a million dollars from James Randi’s foundation. Unclaimed since 1996. :)

10. Jimmy - July 4, 2012

I would like solid-proof.Activated could be one of the company’s staff or whatever.Activated:You got solid-proof?

11. Modern - August 24, 2013

To all the parents who are running in the cat race to make their children see blindfold.

Please test any midbrain activated child in a pitch dark room to recognise colour. I bet all will fail.

Mid brain activation is a bad combination of reiki and hypnotism.

And 3rd eye activation is a highly spiritual thing, if at all it is, and i dont think kids are mature enough to handle such spirituality.

Dont experiment on your kids for your own satisfaction.
Kids lie under the hypnotism and the pressure to perform.

Its definitely is a hoax. High degree of hynotism. Avoid it..

12. Suzlinea Lynn - October 16, 2013

Hi All, I’m Mdm Suzlinea Lynn, Founder from Brainy Mind Malaysia. One of the Mid-brain activation center from Malaysia. (Search Facebook: Brainy Mind International – website: http://www.brainymind.webs.com ~ But it is in my local language)

Actually, it is for real that the kids & youth still can see while blindfolded, in condition if they are trained with right activation method.

The blindfold activities is just to train their brain to see thru several senses, such as brainwaves, inner brain light, touch and smell. This is rather interesting yet so impossible for those who use left brain and try to analyze such unknown method or non-logical method,

After all, this is sure non-logical method and using subconscious mind power. Nowadays, many of us knows that in Alpha brainwaves, we can tune lots and lots of possibilities to help our kids, youth & adult brain condition to be able to perform at maximum and the best level.

As concerned parents, these method has helped many children with and without focus and memory problem to excel better in their learning activities throughout the years to years education process.

So, please consider again if any of you out there try to make false statement again about mid-brain activation process because center like us, has helped lots of children, no matter what level of their achievement in studies or brain process problem.

Again, Blindfold activities is just a process to help their brain be better and can perform better. Not as a magical show to others. It is a proof that the children can see using brainwaves & inner light.

I’m not a doctor nor a scientist. But I am positive with what our whole brain can do for us.. I have the knowledge & the technique to offer to my Malay community.

What can you say if I come out with this statement :
“Children with Dyslexia, Hyperactive, can be treated with pineal gland activation (Mid-Brain)”
I have my testimonial evidence from parents and their children has performed well in their education & this has bring major changes to their life.. They are grateful and many more parents said the same.

Pn Salbiah & Mr Affandi (Parents) said, their two daughters, one age 14, Aina Nasuha, has shown remarkable progress in their education. In class, from No. 27, to number 1 in 8 months progress. Same goes to youngest daughter, Arrisya Maisara, Age 9, also got higher marks & No 1 in class. Many more parents will come with more & more testimonial evidence.

Mid-Brain activation is the solution to get brain in”Ready & Active” status to help them learn better and can focus well while learning.

Who ever from outside countries who want to learn & interested to purchase MID-BRAIN ACTIVATION METHOD, and to bring this to your own countries, you are welcome to contact me at: email : mybrainymind@yahoo.com

Thank you.

~Suzlinea Lynn~

FB : Suzlinea Lynn

Wilz - January 15, 2014

Mdm Suzlinea Lynn – do you want to perhaps collect this easy million dollars from the James Randi Foundation?

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

k0k s3n w4i - January 15, 2014

Now, I am actually a doctor and I am of the opinion that Mdm Suzlinea is a fraud. And I will willingly test her best student to prove her a fraud.

zack - November 8, 2014

Tell us! doctor, how?we really want to know about this fraudulent activity.

13. sam - November 14, 2014

i tested few kids who are trained..but they failed when I hold the object in front of their forehead. they identified only when it was hold below nose

14. Pradeep D - May 7, 2015

What a boon! The whole lot of people with blindness will soon see the world with such wonderful technique. Great ‘brain waves and inner lights’ – marketing gimmicks in full flow ! pity the gullible! They don’t want the million ! But keep the Goose laying Golden egg for ever! blind folded bike riding is a well known magic trick.Hats off Madam Suzlinea Lynn. As Nancy Sinatra sang’ take off your silver spurs and let us pass the time “


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