Why do we blink? To reload the brain, amongst other reasons
Main reasons we blink: scientifically proven reloading of the brain, reasons for blinking among adults and children, what would happen if we stopped moisturizing our eyes.
We don’t even notice that we are blinking, as this process is as natural as moving your arm or leg. But we do close our eyes at least 15-20 times per minute. Why do we have to do that so often?
Our cornea doesn’t need to be moisturized that often, because it is proven that 7 blinks are more than enough to provide the proper functionality level of the eye. It appears as though we are “wasting” 10% of our waking hours blinking our eyes!
Scientists from Japan have proven that this action is required in order to “reload” our brain. Tamami Nakano and a team of experts from the Osaka University developed a theory stating that we use blinking to “reset” current information and “reload” our brain afterwards. And it’s not just an idea, but an experimentally confirmed fact.
Continuous studies have allowed scientists to discover that blinking happens when a person is switching their focus onto something new:
- We blink when we finish each separate sentence during reading, writing or text typing
- We blink during pauses when listening to someone speak
- We blink with every new scene that appears when we watch a movie or a TV show.
By doing this we “reset” our neural network, which is located in the parietal lobe, helping our brain to change it’s focus. It turns out that blinking only looks spontaneous; in fact we are blinking at pretty predictable moments.
A group of volunteers was set up in order to confirm the theory of “reloading”. They were offered the pleasant experience of watching “Mister Bean” videos. While the participants were enjoying this funny show, scientists were thoroughly observing them and monitoring the activity in their neural networks with the help of a MRI-machine.
All the theories the scientists held were confirmed: all members of the group were “reloading” simultaneously, with every new scene and during the pauses between the episodes.
This experiment explains to us why people blink more often that is supposedly required. But there’s another question: why does the “reloading” process take so long? Scientists are planning to answer this question in the near future.
Main reasons of frequent blinking
Don’t assume that we blink so often only because our brain has to be “reloaded”. There are many other reasons for blinking:
- dry eyes
- a foreign body in the eyelids
- anxiety and stress
- nervous twitch
- some medications (ritalin, benzodiazepines)
- tourette’s syndrome
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