Science and Health

Impatient People Have Fast Eye Movements: Study

Johns Hopkins researchers say people who have fast eye movements are more likely to make impulsive decisions.

Impatient People Have Fast Eye Movements: Study
Flickr / Ahmed Sinan

​They say eyes are the windows to the soul — apparently they are also windows to impatience.

According to a recent Johns Hopkins University study, people with fast eye movements are less patient and more likely to make impulsive decisions.

The researchers gave 23 volunteers a series of tests and measured their saccades, the quick eye movements that occur when the eyes focus on different objects. (Via YouTube / xef6)

One of the tests had the subjects obeying commands that told them where to focus. Researchers measured how long participants were willing to follow one command while waiting for the next.

The study found a strong correlation between the speed of eye movement and patience. Subjects with quicker saccades were more impulsive or impatient; those with slower eye movement were more patient. (Via WVUE)

One of the study's authors says there might be a link between decision-making and how the nervous system "evaluates time and reward in controlling movements." (Via The Journal of Neuroscience)

Time reports the results could help explain why people with certain brain injuries or mental illnesses have decision-making problems.

And the Los Angeles Times points out that other studies have found a correlation between impatient people and obesity, divorce, drug or alcohol abuse, and trouble with the law.

It's important to note that the study used a very small sample of volunteers, 23. The subjects also self-reported their levels of impulsivity, which the researchers say is a very complex trait.