anhinga_anhinga (anhinga_anhinga) wrote,

"Blinking suppresses the neural response to unchanging retinal stimulation."

BBC reports finding made by the Rees Lab at University College London.

"The device, made with fibre optic cable, was placed in the mouths of volunteers who were wearing light proof goggles and lying in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scanner.

The optical fibre lit up the eyeballs through the roof of the mouth using a strong light - making the head glow red.

This meant that the light falling on the retina in the eye remained constant even when the participants blinked."

"They found that blinking suppressed brain activity in the visual cortex and other areas of the brain - known as parietal and prefrontal - which are usually activated when people become conscious of visual events or objects in the outside world."

The Rees Lab was trying to figure out why the blinks do not distrurb our feeling of continuity of visual perception.

"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 recognise everything has momentarily gone dark."
Tags: neuroscience
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