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Salk Study Shines a Light on Eye Motion

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Aired 4/19/09

 

 

 

Researchers at San Diego's Salk Institute say small rapid eye movements reveal what our brains really want to look at. And that could affect the way people design visual environments. Tom Fudge reports.

 

Microsaccad is the scientific term for tiny involuntary eye movements that occur when we think our vision is fixed on a single subject. Scientists say these eye motions are important because they continually refresh the image we're focused on. But researchers at Salk have linked these eye motions to a part of brain that also governs voluntary eye movements. Researcher Ziad Hafed says this indicates that our eyes are continually drawn to interesting objects, even when they're in our peripheral vision. One example may be an attractive woman that a man does notice, but chooses not to look at directly. Hafed says knowing how the eye behaves it important. It allows us to design airplane cockpits or mission control rooms in a way that draws attention to the things that people really need to see. Tom Fudge, KPBS News.

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