Volume 18, Issue 2 p. 89-110
Article
Free Access

ON THE ACT OF BLINKING

Eric Ponder

Eric Ponder

Department of Physiology, Edinburgh University

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W. P. Kennedy

W. P. Kennedy

Department of Physiology, Edinburgh University

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First published: 13 July 1927
Citations: 205

Abstract

1. It is shown, by an investigation of the movements of blinking in the normal individual, that the distribution of interblink periods (intervals between successive blinks measured in seconds) is remarkably constant for the individual under constant experimental conditions.

2 The movements are not reflex, and do not depend on the integrity of the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth cranial nerves. They are centrally controlled, and dependent on intermittent impulses passing from the region of the basal ganglia.

3. The rate of blinking is closely related to the “mental tension” of the subject at the time, and in all probability the movements constitute a kind of relief mechanism, whereby nervous energy, otherwise unutilised, passes into a highly facilitated path.