QuickCheck: Do babies blink less frequently than adults?

HAVE you ever played a staring contest with a baby and wondered why you're always destined to lose?

It’s almost like the tiny humans blink less than we adults do.

On that note, could it be true that babies blink less frequently than adults?



Research published by The Annals of Neurology documented the rates of spontaneous blinking patterns among 269 children and 179 adults.

This study revealed that infants typically blink under two times per minute, with this frequency gradually rising until they reach 14 or 15 years old.

The average adult blinks between 10 and 15 times per minute.

It is theorised that babies, in the early stages of visual development, are intensely engaged in focusing and processing visual details.

Blinking's main function is to spread tears across the eye, washing off dust or other substances from the cornea.

Hence, it is proposed that babies might have a reduced necessity for this eye moisture due to the smaller size of their eye openings or their high sleep frequency.

Additionally, a number of scholars have hypothesised that an underdeveloped dopamine system could be a potential cause for the decreased rate of blinking observed in infants.

As published by ScienceDirect, it was observed by Taylor et. al. that blink rates significantly correlate positively with concentration of dopamine, one of the chemical substances that aid in communication between neurons in the brain, among other functions.

According to an article by LiveScience, individuals with schizophrenia, a condition potentially linked to excessive dopamine, tend to blink more often.

In contrast, the blink rate is significantly lower in those with Parkinson's disease, which stems from the degeneration of neurons that produce dopamine.

While it's only a theory that babies have deficient dopamine levels, the fact is that their brains are in a continuous state of growth and might not yet effectively process dopamine signals that regulate blinking.

As the baby’s brain matures, their blink rate may increase with further growth and development.

So the next time you think about getting into a staring contest with a baby, think again.

These little ones have science and biology on their side.


1. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-lz1c31facts18527-infants-do-blink-less-adults-2009mar31-story.html?expandComments=true

2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014488699970930#:~:text=Previous%20studies%20have%20suggested%20a,eye%20blink%20rates%20in%20monkeys.

3. https://www.livescience.com/62988-why-babies-rarely-blink.html

4. https://medium.com/a-microbiome-scientist-at-large/3-scientific-reasons-why-babies-dont-blink-e91a6594a0a8

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