OCT 24, 2017 7:35 AM PDT

Stop Watching The Clock


Much like the saying "A watched pot never boils" it seems that whenever we look at a clock if it has a second hand, it seems to stop. This is particularly frustrating if you're trapped in a boring meeting, and it's almost the weekend. The clock isn't out to get you though. It's a brain thing. As our eyes move to look at something, the brain anticipates what the visual input will be. Since your eyes are in motion if the brain doesn't try to anticipate the environment, there would be a disconnect between what you see and what your brain is processing. That kind of disconnect can lead to feeling disoriented or lost.

The brain can process visual stimuli quicker than our eyes can get there. The illusion of a stopped clock happens because of that time delay, even though it's only about a half a second. Getting ahead of what the eyes can see is one of the ways the brain has evolved to help with navigating around an unfamiliar area. When the brain's ability to do this is disrupted, such as it is in patients with dementia or other neurological conditions that impact memory, getting lost or disoriented even in familiar surroundings is often the result.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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