Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Blink and You Really Do "Miss It"

Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Blink and You Really Do "Miss It"

Article excerpt

We blink 10 to 15 times each minute and parts of the brain are temporarily "switched off" when we blink, scientists have found. The team from University College London found that the brain shut down parts of the visual system for each blink. Writing in Current Biology, they said that this was the case even if light was still entering the eyes. The researchers said this could explain why people do not notice their own blinking, as it gave us an "uninterrupted view of the world."

A blink lasts for between 100 and 150 milliseconds. We automatically blink 10 to 15 times a minute to moisten and oxygenate the cornea. During a blink, there is no visual input and no light, but we do not consciously recognize that everything has momentarily gone dark.

The UCL team set out to discover why humans are not disturbed by these "mini blackouts." The study used a specially-designed device to assess the effects of blinking on the brain. …

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