rapid eye movement from dominique o'brien


in a TV-show about all kinds of crazy world records I saw dominique o’brien memorising 50 objects that were placed on some kind of running track. When he was doing this, his eyes moved from side to side in a very fast pace.

This reminded me of an incredibly smart IT-guy (I felt like Forrest Gump in comparison) that came to our warehouse to implement a new computer system. If he was asked a very difficult question he would look up in the air and his eyes would behave precisely like those of dominique.

I suspect this eye movement may be related to rem (rapid eye movement) sleep. During this fase of sleep you live an entire day in only a couple of minutes of “real” time (like in the movie Inception).

The question this brings about is, is it possible to use these rem sleep capabilities while being awake.

Let me finish this post with a very uneducated guess regarding this question. When I am about to sneeze I get a weird feeling at the same time I close my eyes. I get the same feeling when I am navigating in my memory palace at high speed.

Anyway, I would appreciate any input regarding this matter.


"Those weren’t his eyes, they were his gills ! ":stuck_out_tongue: (MIB1 I think).
Seriously though, I’d love to know if anyone has anything on this one.

Sounds interesting. Is the video online anywhere?

I think my memory has deceived me; I just watched this video again and he is blindfolded the entire time, so this not the video in which he does the REM thing. I think my brain has put several videos of Brian in a single memory as if it were just 1 videos.

I will try to find the missing video.

Anyway to memorise 50 objects in a tv-show like that is still pretty damn awsome.

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Very interesting article. There might be a link to REM sleep, as the researchers in the article suggest the eye movement enables communication between the 2 parts of the brain, which may be what sleep (in part) is about.

In the last section of the article they mentioned (semi-serious) how this eye movement can help you find your parked car, a problem I seem to have from time to time; I have the problem of ghost images (like when re-using a memorypalace), my memory sometimes doen’t fade enough so my car could be on multiple locations in the parking garage.


Possibly tangentially related:

  • If you sit on a swivel chair (safer than doing the same thing standing up) and gently place your fingertips on your closed eyes while you turn around and around, you’ll be able to discern that your eyes will still exhibit saccadic movement even though you can’t “see” anything. (Not sure if this is true for the blind, but it’s worth considering who this may not be true for and why.)
  • Rapid Serial Visual Presentation methods for speed reading (Spritz and related apps) work well primarily because they limit saccadic eye movements which take up a proportionally large portion of your reading time. (Ultimately I think there is an upper limit to how fast one can read and comprehend and retain information.)
  • The visual systems of chickens are responsible for their odd walking manner in which they throw their heads forward and then move their body underneath them while their head remains stationary. Essentially while their head is moving, they’re “blind”.

Is it possible that saccades of the eye are tied into our visual processing and memory systems in a manner deeper than we’re consciously aware? Does reading on a page help our comprehension or long term memories more because the words have a location on a page versus RSVP reading methods? Do our mental visualizations (imagination) change depending on these visual/reading methods? What effects to these have on our memories?

Some interesting questions worth pondering/researching.

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