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Eyes Are the Windows to the Brain

Who a person is relates to how they move their eyes, says cognitive scientist Dr. Aaron Risko. New eye-tracking technology is giving researchers more insight into how someone thinks.

What’s the Latest Development?

Cognitive science has updated the old adage that the eyes are the windows to the soul. New eye-tracking technology in the form of video cameras, which record every miniscule movement of the eye, are giving scientists important data on eye movement patterns—where we look, and for how long—revealing important information about how we read, how we learn and even what kind of people we are. Now the eyes are the window to the brain and scientists are exploring how we learn from text and images, including those viewed onscreen.

What’s the Big Idea?

Who is using the new data and how? Advertisers are better informed about where to place an ad so that you will look at it. Ads that move, for example, are harder for people to ignore. On the opposite side, scientists are using the data to eliminate distraction and improve focus. Psychologists Elizabeth Grant and Michael Spivey realized through experiments that guiding attention can guide thought, so if learners can be directed toward important information, they are more likely to solve related problems.

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