Study Says Dressmakers Have Super-Strength Vision

A new study finds that dressmakers have superior stereoscopic vision. (Photo: Getty Images)
A new study finds that dressmakers have superior stereoscopic vision. (Photo: Getty Images)

Not only are fashion designers superior creatives, but a new study from the University of California, Berkeley suggests that dressmakers specifically also have better vision than the rest of us. Not just “better” vision, they have what’s called stereoscopic vision.

What’s that, you ask? Stereoscopic vision is the brain’s ability to translate the two-dimensional images received by each eye into a three-dimensional world. Trippy. This positively affects depth perception and hand-eye coordination, both vital to threading a needle.

Studying a group of professionals using computerized perceptual tasks, researchers tested stereoscopic vision and found that dressmakers had the best vision of the group, with 80 percent more accuracy at calculating the distance between themselves and the objects they were looking at, and 43 percent more accuracy at estimating distance between objects than their non-dressmaker counterparts.

“We found dressmakers have superior stereovision, perhaps because of the direct feedback involved with fine needlework,” Adrien Chopin, lead study author and postdoctoral researcher in visual neuroscience at UC Berkeley, told EurekAlert.

Chopin was inspired to study stereoscopic vision after previous studies disproved the common assumption that surgeons, dentists, and other medical professionals who often perform precise manual procedures have superior stereoscopic vision.

The researchers are still unsure as to whether dressmaking helps to improve stereoscopic vision, or if people with superior stereoscopic vision are drawn to dressmaking.

To best experience stereoscopic vision, focus on one point. Close one eye, and then close the other, and notice the shift in background with each open eye. People with inferior stereoscopic vision, such as people with lazy eyes, have difficulty creating one unified image with the image provided by each eye.

In contrast, painters are believed to have inferior stereoscopic vision, perhaps making them better at perceiving two-dimensional images from a three-dimensional world. With that in mind, it makes sense why the 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt often painted himself with one lazy eye.

Researchers believe that this new study will help to inform efforts of training people with stereo impairment and strengthen this element of their vision, as an estimated 10 percent of people suffer from stereo impairment and 5 percent suffer from stereo blindness.

Now we’re wondering if designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Siriano only started wearing glasses for the look.

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