-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Jan. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People with fast eye
movements tend to be less patient and more likely to make impulsive
decisions, a new study contends.
Assessing body movement, including the speed of the eyes as they
focus on one thing and then another, helps reveal how a person's
brain evaluates the passage of time in relation to the value of a
potential reward, the Johns Hopkins University researchers
"When I go to the pharmacy and see a long line, how do I decide how long I'm willing to stand there?" principal investigator Reza Shadmehr, a professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience, said in a university news release. "Are those who walk away and never enter the line also the ones who tend to talk fast and walk fast, perhaps because of the way they value time in relation to rewards?"
Having a better understanding of how people evaluate time when
making decisions might help explain why malfunctions in certain
areas of the brain make decision-making harder for people with
brain injuries or neurological disorders like schizophrenia, the
For the study, published this week in the
Journal of Neuroscience, researchers conducted a series of
experiments with volunteers and found a strong correlation between
eye-movement speed and patience or impulsivity.
"It seems that people who make quick movements -- at least eye movements -- tend to be less willing to wait," Shadmehr said.
"Our hypothesis is that there may be a fundamental link between the way the nervous system evaluates time and reward in controlling movements and in making decisions," Shadmehr said. "After all, the decision to move is motivated by a desire to improve one's situation, which is a strong motivating factor in more complex decision-making too."
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry talks
teens and decision-making.
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