Endogenous eye blinks in preadolescents: relationship to information processing and performance.

Biological psychology

PubMedID: 15099694

Pivik RT, Dykman RA. Endogenous eye blinks in preadolescents: relationship to information processing and performance. Biol Psychol. 2004;66(3):191-219.
Endogenous blinks--those occurring without apparent provocation--are regulated in adults with respect to the presentation, cognitive loading, and response demands of stimuli. This investigation determined the extent to which similar regulatory and response-related relationships were evident in preadolescents during a visual continuous performance task (CPT). As in adults, increased blink incidence on task, longer blink deferral following stimuli with greater cognitive loading, and blink-facilitated motor responses to imperative stimuli were observed. Reaction times significantly decreased when the button press (BP) occurred near (+/- 200 ms) blink onset and increased across the task period on blink-free but not blink-associated trials. More blinks occurred before motor responses in females, and a reaction time (RT) advantage for males on blink-free trials was maintained across blink-associated conditions. From these results, an interpretation is developed arguing that endogenous blinks are a meaningful and integral component of sensory-motor processing, indexing times of facilitated attentional and motor response capability.