Why can’t we see in more dimensions than 3D?

Our viewing experience of films is aided by the chunky 3D glasses provided by the cinema, but why is our visual system limited to just three dimensions?

28th October 2017
Why can’t we see in more dimensions than 3D? © Getty

Asked by: Leah Smith, Hereford

Our brains have been shaped by generations of evolution. The fact that we are unable to think in more than three dimensions suggests that visualising four or more dimensions simply provided no survival or reproductive value to our ancestors – this isn’t really surprising since our daily lives are played out in a three-dimensional physical space.

It is likely for similar reasons that we also find it so difficult to imagine truly infinite space or eternity and other metaphysical concepts. While we can appreciate the meaning of these terms, we struggle to visualise them because our brains have adapted to process the limited space and time that we occupy. 

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