Eli5: when looking around a room your eyes jump from point to point, but when following a moving object they move smoothly. Why can’t they move smoothly when scanning a room?

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Eli5: when looking around a room your eyes jump from point to point, but when following a moving object they move smoothly. Why can’t they move smoothly when scanning a room?

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12 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because there is no advantage at all to being able to smoothly move your eyes from one side of the horizon to the other if you are a wild animal.

There is an advantage to being able to look very quickly. And there is an advantage to being able to focus on a single moving target and follow it. So that is why those abilities did evolve while the ability to smoothly look around did not.

Your eyes and brain are already doing an insane amount of work. Adding in extra abilities that never had any evolutionary advantage would make no sense and would be a use of resources that would take away from more important tasks.

Anonymous 0 Comments

When you follow a moving object, your eyes can move smoothly because your brain knows where the object is going. It can predict the movement, so your eyes can follow it smoothly without jumping. But when you’re scanning a room, your brain doesn’t know where to look next, so it has to keep jumping from one point to another to see everything. That’s why your eyes move in small spurts, instead of moving smoothly like when you follow a moving object.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because there is no advantage at all to being able to smoothly move your eyes from one side of the horizon to the other if you are a wild animal.

There is an advantage to being able to look very quickly. And there is an advantage to being able to focus on a single moving target and follow it. So that is why those abilities did evolve while the ability to smoothly look around did not.

Your eyes and brain are already doing an insane amount of work. Adding in extra abilities that never had any evolutionary advantage would make no sense and would be a use of resources that would take away from more important tasks.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because there is no advantage at all to being able to smoothly move your eyes from one side of the horizon to the other if you are a wild animal.

There is an advantage to being able to look very quickly. And there is an advantage to being able to focus on a single moving target and follow it. So that is why those abilities did evolve while the ability to smoothly look around did not.

Your eyes and brain are already doing an insane amount of work. Adding in extra abilities that never had any evolutionary advantage would make no sense and would be a use of resources that would take away from more important tasks.

Anonymous 0 Comments

When you follow a moving object, your eyes can move smoothly because your brain knows where the object is going. It can predict the movement, so your eyes can follow it smoothly without jumping. But when you’re scanning a room, your brain doesn’t know where to look next, so it has to keep jumping from one point to another to see everything. That’s why your eyes move in small spurts, instead of moving smoothly like when you follow a moving object.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not that your eyes *can’t* move smoothly when scanning, but rather that your eyes (and brain) want to focus on **something**. As you scan a room, your focus moves from point to point.

If you imagine an object moving steadily across the room, you can usually smoothly follow the imagined object.

Anonymous 0 Comments

When you follow a moving object, your eyes can move smoothly because your brain knows where the object is going. It can predict the movement, so your eyes can follow it smoothly without jumping. But when you’re scanning a room, your brain doesn’t know where to look next, so it has to keep jumping from one point to another to see everything. That’s why your eyes move in small spurts, instead of moving smoothly like when you follow a moving object.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not that your eyes *can’t* move smoothly when scanning, but rather that your eyes (and brain) want to focus on **something**. As you scan a room, your focus moves from point to point.

If you imagine an object moving steadily across the room, you can usually smoothly follow the imagined object.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not that your eyes *can’t* move smoothly when scanning, but rather that your eyes (and brain) want to focus on **something**. As you scan a room, your focus moves from point to point.

If you imagine an object moving steadily across the room, you can usually smoothly follow the imagined object.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You basically can do two thing: focus on a point and switching focus.

To be able to focus on a point your brain needs to compensate many environmental factors, like the movement of your head or the movement of the object itself, the distance, the brightness, color temperature, etc.

So following an object is not that different compared to staring at a fixed object.