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Architectural Design for the Human Eye

WHEN THE HUMAN EYE BLINKS…

Did you know that the second most complex organ in your body after your brain is your eye? (1) The human eye contains many processes all working together to help you perceive visual queues in a continuous way. However, when foreign matter or heightened stimuli (like loud sounds or bright lights) occur, a blinking reflex is activated — and usually when one eye blinks the other follows.

GEOFF MANAUGH ON “BLINKSPOTS”

In a thought-provoking post entitled Architecture of the Blink, some interesting questions surface regarding how blinking might affect our perception of architectural design. In this article, Geoff Manaugh explores “blinkspots” — moments or spaces where blinking shuts down our awareness of less important details.

This got me thinking…

DO YOU WANT A “SECOND LOOK”?

When architecture is more “interactive”, with more moving and/or flashing elements, does that mean occupants will blink faster and; thus, pay more (or less) attention? This relationship between blinking and attention could be important for architectural design, as attention is likely to help occupants make decisions about what they remember, what they perceive and/or where to go next.

[…] blinking creates a sort of “second look” that might turn up something we may have missed […]A short blink might alert us to what our eyes had grown accustomed to just seconds before. (1)

YOUR EMOTION + BLINKING PATTERNS

Blinking patterns are also indicators of human thought and emotion. There are stress blinking patterns or fear blinking patterns. I wonder if there are different blinking patterns for each of the wide range of human emotions that we all feel. Whatever the case, blinking patterns can be used to understand how occupants might perceive or react to certain lighting, sound or material arrangements in architecture.

Nowadays, we use blinking to moisten and clean the eye lenses. But just as microsaccades [eye movements] can indicate a focus of attention and thought process, blinking patterns can indicate our trains of thought. (1)

Thinking about how one might design an architectural space based on blinking is quite a fascinating idea. Perhaps a school design would work, where education (attention) and emotion (social interaction) could make optimal use of such blinking discoveries.

Reference:

(1) Eye Movement and Blinking – New Evidence Suggests Links to Thought and Emotion. July 31.2009.

Image Credit: © andyj682 | Flickr

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