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Publication in Brain Sciences

March 30, 2021


We have published a paper in Brain Sciences titled 'Viewers change eye-blink rate by predicting narrative content'. A previous study reported that cuts significantly inhibit viewers’ eye blinks. However, according to the present results, viewer’s eye blinks are more related to content than to style when watching movies.

Eye blinks provoke a loss of visual information. However, we are not constantly making conscious decisions about the appropriate moment to blink. The presence or absence of eye blinks also denotes levels of attention. We presented three movies with the exact same narrative but different styles of editing and recorded participants’ eye blinks. We found that moments of increased or decreased eye blinks by viewers coincided with the same content in the different movie styles. The moments of increased eye blinks corresponded to those when the actor leaves the scene and when the movie repeats the same action for a while. The moments of decreased eye blinks corresponded to actions where visual information was crucial to proper understanding of the scene presented. According to these results, viewers’ attention is more related to narrative content than to the style of editing when watching movies.

In this study, we suggest that, in the context of managing viewers’ attention, content overrules style. Media creators can use this finding to enhance viewers’ attentiveness. The interesting output of this investigation is that it seems possible to create patterns (such as the increase of viewers’ eye-blink rate during the disappearance of the main actor from the scene) that would be useful for script writers and media producers.

View full-text here:
Andreu-Sánchez, C., Martín-Pascual, M.Á., Gruart, A., Delgado-García, J.M. (2021). Viewers change eye-blink rate by predicting narrative content'. Brain Sciences, 11(4): 422. 


Dpt. Comunicació Audiovisual i Publicitat. Edifici I. Facultat de Comunicació. Campus Bellaterra.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 08193. Cerdanyola del Vallès. Barcelona, Spain.
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