An article posted today on New Scientist suggests that, over the course of a 150-minute film, audience members will miss an incredible fifteen minutes simply through the act of blinking – but also that people watching a film tend to blink at the same time.
It’s called “synchronized blinking,” and it means that “we subconsciously control the timing of blinks to make sure we don’t miss anything important” – with the addendum that, “because we tend to watch films in a similar way, moviegoers often blink in unison.” That is, they blink during “non-critical” moments of plot or action, creating a kind of perceptual cutting-room floor.
The author goes on to speculate about the possibility of an architectural equivalent of “synchronized blinking,” wondering if there are places no one ever sees because everyone blinks at that exact same location. Sounds kind of wild to me. Still, it might be useful as an excuse.
After all, perhaps there’s a detail in your own house that you’ve never actually seen before – and it’s because you tend to blink as you walk past it. …
Perhaps that’s how spiderwebs build up: you literally don’t see them.
Reading this article has made me self-conscious about blinking. Now I’m going to be thinking about it all day, wondering if I missed something the last time I blinked. And you know… I should probably look around for any spiderwebs I might have missed.