Guy Kawasaki once said, “Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.” But did you know that your eye movements might give away your feelings of impatience even if you try to hide them? A study recently released by John Hopkins University has found that people who are impulsive and impatient blink more often than necessary, or more often than others.
The study looked at 23 volunteers who underwent three different experiments while the researchers measured saccades, which are the movements of the eye when people are focused on an object. In the first experiment, the researchers had the volunteers stare at a screen where dots would suddenly appear, one at a time, on various parts of the screen. The saccades, or fast eye movements, of the participants were recorded as they looked from one dot to the next.
The 23 volunteers were then put through the second experiment where they were asked to observe the screen again. They were then asked to follow visual commands that told them where to look. It would tell them to look to the left or to the right.
The commands were supposed to instruct them on where the dots would be appearing on the screen. But each volunteer was warned that if they followed the directional command, they would be wrong 25 percent of the time.
The volunteers were also instructed that a second command, which might be more accurate, would follow. They were then told they would have to wait for an unknown length of time to receive the second command. The researchers made the most patient individuals wait longer and longer periods of time for the second command. By doing so, the researchers figured out the maximum time that participants were willing to wait.
The third experiment required the volunteers to fill out a questionnaire. The topics covered in the questionnaire were very broad, from asking the volunteers if they purchased something instantly or said something before thinking about it.
After reviewing the results from the three experiments, the researchers found that people who had fast eye movements were more likely to be impatient. The fast eye movers were less willing to wait and made decisions on impulse. Those with the longest wait times had the slowest eye movements, while those with the shortest wait times had the fastest saccades.
The results point to a strong correlation between the speed of eye movement and a person’s patience. Volunteers with quicker eye movements were more impatient and impulsive than those with slower eye movements.
Reza Shadmehr, a professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience for John Hopkins, was the principal investigator for the study. He was also one of the authors of the study which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Shadmehr stated, “Our hypothesis is that there may be a fundamental link between the way the nervous system evaluates time and reward in controlling movements and in making decisions.
After all, the decision to move is motivated by a desire to improve one’s situation, which is a strong motivating factor in more complex decision-making, too.”
And what they found seems to back up these thoughts. Shadmehr went on to say, “It seems that people who make quick movements – at least eye movements – tend to be less willing to wait.”
You might be asking yourself what difference it makes if impatient people have quicker eye movements. The reason behind the research might surprise you. The researchers pointed out that they now have a better understanding of how people evaluate time when choosing from different options and potential rewards. This might help explain why the brain malfunctions in certain areas.
This can result in the decision making process being harder for those people, especially people with brain injuries, or neurological disorders like schizophrenia.
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Are You Impatient?
Try some relaxation techniques to help you overcome your impatience. There are even ways to help your eyes relax. One very simple eye exercise you can do at home or in the office is palming. You do this by rubbing the palms of your hands together to generate a little warmth, and then you place the palms of your hands over your eyes. It creates a very soothing feeling for your eyes.
If your eyes are just overworked, that makes you and your eyes feel stressed. Take a break. Look away from the work you are doing. If you are working at a desk, try looking off at a distance and focusing on something else every now and then to give your eyes a rest.
Another way you add some energy and life back into your eyes is to eat a proper diet. Foods high in fat and sugar are not only going to make you feel sluggish, they are bad for your eyesight. Check out these essential vitamins, minerals and herbs for healthy eyes and vision. They will not only make your eyes feel better, they will make your whole body feel better. And when you have a healthy body, a healthy mind will follow and patience will come easier.
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