Inside your brain – What happens when we read?

| March 4, 2011

Just out of interest, what actually happens inside your brain when you read?

What do our brains do when we read?

For a start, your eyes don’t move smoothly across the text. That’s an illusion. Yes, your eyes regularly fix on the text for around 250 milliseconds at a time. But you intersperse these fixed observations with rapid eye movements called saccades.

During saccades your eyeballs swivel somewhere between 2 and 5 degrees over 30-50 milliseconds. Which could make life very difficult. Thankfully your brain suppresses the resulting blur and only actually collects visual information at the end of each saccade. Then it integrates the snapshots it has collected to give you the sensation of a smooth flow of words before delivering them to your language processing system, the visual cortex.

Which makes reading much more than merely a simple pleasure!

Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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