New research from Japan suggests that blinking does more than stop our eyes drying out: it is an active process that causes the brain to go off-line, into a more reflective mode, before giving renewed attention.
Tamami Nakano of Osaka University and colleagues write about their findings in the 24 December online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, PNAS.
In earlier work, where they had invited volunteers to watch Mr Bean videos, Nakano and colleagues discovered that people’s eyes blink when they need to pay less attention, for instance when the video cuts to a new scene.
And in another study, they found people blink when they pause while speaking, and this entrains their listeners to time their eye blinks to occur a split second later.
This seems to confirm the common-sense idea that we blink at times when we’ll miss the least important information.
Read the rest of the story: Blinking Causes Brain To Go Off-Line.