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The feeling of waves? Answered

How do you scientifically explain the feeling of still being in the waves at the ocean or the wave pool after you've left the big blue?



Best Answer 10 years ago

The brain is very good at screening out irrelevant information. One of the ways it does so is by establishing a base set of expectations for what's "normal" and concentrating only on what's diverging from that standard.

After you've been in the waves for a while, you've adjusted to expect that the world around you is rising and falling at a fairly predictable set of frequencies. When you get back onto land, that expectation continues, and so what you're actually feeling is the _absense_ of that motion -- which is coming through as motion in the opposite direction. After a short time you readjust and that sensation goes away.

The same effect sometimes makes a train or car feel like it's moving backward for a moment after it has come to a stop. (No, it isn't all just because the vehicle is settling back on its springs.)

There are also a number of videos on the web which demonstrate this effect by having you stare at a moving pattern for a while, then when you look away other things will seem to move in the opposite direction.


10 years ago

Wow! that's a very good explanation!