Research by Chinese scientists found that the frequency of blinking can reflect when the brain is aroused and what it is more interested in when receiving auditory information.
"Our eyes blink to the rhythm of people's speech, but the frequency is much higher than what is required to keep the globe moist," said Ding Nai, leader of the research team in Zhejiang University. "The blinks may reflect certain characteristics of how the brain processes information."
The team found that the eye activity is modulated by temporal attention and that they are closely related with high-level neural processing.
"For example, the volunteers in the experiment blink less when they are paying attention, and they blink differently when they are paying attention to different parts of the content," Ding said.
The research offers implications for monitoring the brain's attentiveness through video, Ding said.
"For example, a teacher can analyze student eye blinking to learn how they are paying attention to class so they can evaluate their teaching objectively, or improve their teaching quality."
The research has been published in international journal Nature Communications.