How the eyes give away impatient people

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

It’s always hard being patient in long lines.

Even though it seems like our eyes keep still, they actually “saccade” – move around from place to place as our focus shifts to different objects. According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, these eye movements reveal if an individual is patient or not.

The scientists devised three experimental trials before reaching this conclusion. In one, participants were told to alternate their gaze between two dots on the wall, while another asked them to fill out a survey asking them how often they acted or spoke without thinking. In the last trial, volunteers had to follow commands that flashed quickly on a screen; if they did it correctly, they were rewarded with a buzzing sound.

According to the results, the participants who had really rapid eye movements were more likely to be impulsive (likely to act without thinking) or impatient. “It seems that people who make quick movements, at least eye movements, tend to be less willing to wait,” said Reza Shadmehr, a professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

Past studies have found that impulsive people were more likely to be obese, divorced, and abuse drugs in the future.

Featured image courtesy of Petr Novák, on Wikipedia. Image of long lines courtesy of David Shankbone on Wikipedia.