Reboot Your Brain

Many of us spend considerable time thinking of ways to change our mindset or clear our heads. But the fact is that humans can do this in the blink of an eye. Literally. With a blink, you can reboot your mind.

Using brain scans during a recent study, scientists learned we blink during pauses in a conversation or when the scene changes in a movie. The researchers, from Japan’s Osaka University, link that blink downtime to brain idling or a pause in attention.

From previous research, scientists knew that humans blinked more than is physiologically necessary to lubricate their eyes. And those micro-breaks that let us reset our minds, well, they really add up. We blink about 15 to 20 times each minute, and blinks last 0.3 to 0.4 of a second. So blinks occupy about five seconds out of every minute and five minutes of every hour, which translates to 80 minutes a day if you’re awake 16 hours.

Consider this along with other blink insights: that liars blink less often while stretching the truth; that, according to some research, winning presidential candidates blink less during debates than their destined-to-lose opponents (hmmm, what’s that bit about liars again?). So it turns out there’s more—lots more—to blinking than meets the eye.


Betsy Simnacher is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. She lives in the suburbs of Dallas.

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