Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Blink, and you'll miss it!

Scientists at University College London have found that parts of the brain are temporarily "switched off" when we blink.

This is one of an interesting set of facts about vision. Our eyes rapidly move around and focus on different parts of the scene in front of us. Yet, we perceive the scene as static and extremely high resolution. The brain is smoothing out the erratic input from our eyes into a continuous perception of the visible world. Even our blinks are filtered out.

If the brain can do all this for vision, it can certainly do the same for perception of thought processes. We perceive consciousness as smooth, continuous, and directed, yet our higher mental processes may not be as smooth and well-integrated as they appear.


Peg said...

Golly, I wonder if maybe I have blinked too much and my shut down valve got stuck!? ;-0}
INteresting article!!

Robin Zebrowski said...

This is cool stuff. When I teach my students about perceptual illusions and places where our bodies pick up the slack of our consciousness, almost none of them can believe our eyes are constantly saccading. (More surprising is that they haven't learned it before now..) But this is neat. I may incorporate it!