Eye movements may predict how fast people make decisions
A team of researchers have revealed that people who are less patient tend to move their eyes with greater speed.
The Johns Hopkins researchers said that their findings suggested that the weight people give to the passage of time may be a trait consistently used throughout their brains, affecting the speed with which they make movements, as well as the way they make certain decisions.
The investigators noted that a better understanding of how the human brain evaluates time when making decisions might also shed light on why malfunctions in certain areas of the brain make decision-making harder for those with neurological disorders like schizophrenia, or for those who have experienced brain injuries.
Principal investigator Reza Shadmehr, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, and his team used very simple eye movements, known as saccades, to stand in for other bodily movements.
Saccades are the motions that our eyes make as we focus on one thing and then another.
The researcher said they found that people who make quick movements, at least eye movements, tend to be less willing to wait.
"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," Shadmehr said.
The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
(Posted on 22-01-2014)