A word of advice for all moviegoers - blinking your eyes in unison while watching a film prevents you from missing any on-screen action.
Tamani Nakano, at the University of Tokyo in Japan, says that the flow of visual information to the brain is halted by up to 450 milliseconds with every blink, and people lose up to 6 seconds of information every minute.
AdvertisementThis means that moviegoers who sit through a 150-minute film have their eyes shut for up to 15 minutes.
The researchers studied how we cope with such extreme information loss.
They monitored the eye blinks of volunteers as they watched a clip of a silent comedy with a strong narrative, or a movie of an aquarium with no narrative, or listened to an audio book with a narrative, but not a visual one.
They used the timing of those blinks as a reference, and then played the volunteers the same clip again and measured whether the eye blinks occurred at the same time as the reference blinks.
It was found that for all three kinds of clip, there was a strong correlation between the timing of blinks in the repeat viewing and the reference blinks.
Nakano said that this is because we blink so often that the chances of a repeat blink matching a reference one are high.
But after statistically filtering out that strong signal, the researchers found that between 23 and 31 per cent of blinks were synchronised when watching the silent movie.
On the other hand, the aquarium movie and the audio book had no such synchronisation.
So for at least some of the time, individuals will blink in unison while watching the same film.
"This is the first study to demonstrate that blinks are excellently coordinated during video playback," New Scientist magazine quoted Nakano as saying.
The synchronised blinks occurred at "non-critical" points during the silent movie - at the conclusion of an action sequence or when the main character had disappeared from view.
"We all commonly find implicit breaks for blinking while viewing a video story," said Nakano.
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