Perceptual, oculomotor, and cognitive effects of eye blinks

Past Event Date: 


Gerrit Maus, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore/ Host: Steve Heinen

Meeting room: 

Room 204 - Main Conference Room

Event Type: 


Humans blink up to 20 times per minute, far more often than necessary for lubricating the eyeballs and clearing debris. Blinks completely disrupt the input to the retina, yet spontaneous eye blinks are rarely noticed; it certainly doesn’t seem to us as if the world briefly disappears during every blink. Transient signals from the retina due to blinks are suppressed from cortical processing, and changes to the retinal image during a blink can go unnoticed. However, the oculomotor system still registers changes across eye blinks. Recent results from my lab and others show how gaze direction adapts to systematic image displacements across blinks and corrections for them by automatic resetting eye movements. An open question is whether there are other benefits of eye blinks for perceptual or cognitive processing. I will present some preliminary results that attentionally demanding tasks can benefit from eye blinks by resetting attentional networks.