When your attention shifts from one place to another, your brain blinks. The blinks are momentary unconscious gaps in visual perception. Attention is beneficial because it increases our ability to detect visual signals even when we are looking in a different direction. Research was conducted with macaque monkeys that were trained to shift their attention among different objects on a display screen while the researchers monitored the pattern of neuron activity taking place in their brains. Primates are particularly suited for the study because they can shift their attention without moving their eyes. Most animals do not have this ability. Researchers discovered that the activity of the neurons in the visual cortex were momentarily disrupted when the game required the animals to shift their attention.
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