On December 18th, 2018, Dr. Nai Ding’s Laboratory published a research article entitled “Eye Activity Tracks Task-Relevant Structures during Speech and Auditory Sequence Perception” in Nature Communications. The first author is Peiqing Jin and the co-second authors are Jiajie Zou and Tao Zhou. The corresponding author is Nai Ding.
We listen through our ears and see things through our eyes. However, a recent study from Ding’s lab shows that when we listen we also move our eyes. Previous work from Ding’s lab has shown that when listening to a sequence of sentences, brainwaves are synchronized to the rhythm of sentences. In the new study, it is found that eye activity is also synchronized to the rhythm of sentences, even when there is no visual input related to the sentences or when the eyes are closed. The synchronized eye activity mainly reflect eye blinks. Further experiments demonstrate that such eye blinks are modulated by attention. When listeners attend to a specific word in a sentence, eye blinks are suppressed when the word comes. The study demonstrate the possibility to monitor one’s attentional state by analyzing eye activity.
Experiment design and results: Sequences of sentences are presented while listeners attend to different words in different conditions. Both neural activity and eye activity are synchronized to the sentential rhythm.
Jin, P., Zou, J.+, Zhou, T.+, and Ding, N.* (2018), Eye Activity Tracks Task-Relevant Structures during Speech and Auditory Sequence Perception. Nature Communications