Our blink rate actually decreases when we are focusing very hard on something specific.
Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) January 28, 2013
On January 25th, Atlanta board certified LASIK surgeon Dr. Farooq Ashraf of the Atlanta Vision Institute posted his response to a new study with some interesting findings about the function of blinking and how it affects our brains on his website. The study, by Tamami Nakano of Osaka University and colleagues, was published in the December online issue of Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. It finds that blinking actually causes the human brain to momentarily disengage from outside activity, and that blinking is not a response to this disengagement as previously thought.
For the study, researchers monitored the blinking and scanned the brains of 20 volunteers as they watched videos. Researchers then compared brain activity during spontaneous blinking to that of instances of non-blinking and found that brain activity decreased in the dorsal attention network after a blink occurred. Additionally, the study found that activity increased in the default-mode network of the brain, which may mean that the brain enters into a reflective state during a blink.
In a previous study, Nakano and colleagues found that people blink at moments when they need to pay less attention, during a pause in a speech or scene change in a movie, for instance. Dr. Ashraf offers that the opposite response occurs when people concentrate on a specific task: “Our blink rate actually decreases when we are focusing very hard on something specific, suggesting that we blink less when we know that we need to be paying attention, and implicating further correlation between blinking and our mental engagement.” This is why, he says, our eyes get dry and irritated after working on the computer for extended periods of time.
Dr. Ashraf is a board certified ophthalmologist who has performed over 40,000 LASIK surgeries. He has practices in Atlanta, GA as well as in Dubai, UAE. He obtained his advanced training in ocular surgery at Johns Hopkins University. For more information or to make an appointment, please visit atlanta2020.com.