Mind Trips are back! We will be talking about cool new inventions on the horizon, strange oddities, brain quirks, and exciting news. We hope you enjoy these as much as we enjoyed putting them together.
Brain Quirk: Saccadic Masking
Is it possible to have your eyes open, yet be completely blind?
Yes, it happens about 40 minutes each day. You don’t realize it is happening because your brain is covering for your eyes. This process is called “Saccadic Masking.”
Try this: Move your head quickly to the side. Do you see a blackout during this movement? If not, try it again and see if you can catch a glimpse. If you can’t don’t worry; your brain is good at compensating for the fact that your eyes can only focus on a point and not the entire field. “The human eyes move rapidly and repeatedly, focusing on a single point for only a short period of time before moving to the next point”. (Source)
The brain has to shut down the visual processing of the eyes during movement. That is also why you can’t see your own eyes move. (This was one of our Mind Trips of the Week #13).
So why do we care about this? Do you remember the movie The Blair Witch Project? The video camera would move quickly creating blurry images. It was hard to follow as well as making some people feel sick to their stomach. If your brain did not perform saccadic masking, your life could be like this movie…and that would not be fun.