How blinking alters the way our brains perceive the passage of time

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Every few seconds, each time you blink, your retinas are deprived of visual input for a period lasting anywhere between tens to hundreds of milliseconds (500 milliseconds is equivalent to half a second). You don’t usually notice this, because your brain suppresses the dark spells and stitches together the bursts of visual information seamlessly. But these dips in visual processing in the brain do have an impact: a new study in Psychological Science finds that, in an important way, they cause your sense of the passing of time to stop temporarily.

Before the visual challenge started, the participants were first shown a white circle for either a “short” period (0.6 seconds) or a “long” period (2.8 seconds). Then came the actual challenge – they were shown a white circle on a screen for varying periods of time, and asked to judge whether the duration of each appearance was closer to the “short” or “long” period.

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Specifically, participants underestimated the duration of the white circle’s appearance if they blinked while they were watching it. What’s more, for each individual, the duration of this blink correlated with their degree of time under-estimation.

Read full, original post: Your Brain Stops Time When You Blink

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