why staring at a video then looking away keeps the last frame in your mind longer than if you continue looking at it


Is it just because the brain is filling in the gaps?

In: Biology

Short answer: your eye receives the light to the retina (the back of the eye), which is “burned” by the light, so the image will show if you directly look at a blank slate, like a white wall.

Same process if you look at a bright light source (like a lightbulb) directly, even if you move your eyes afterwards, you’re gonna see the “white” spot in your field of view no matter what for a few seconds.

Generally this happens with very bright screens and/or very dark rooms. Its literally the frame being burned into your retina for a few seconds until it recovers.

Its the same concept as when looking at the sun and then looking away, you can still see the sun. The difference there is just that the sun is so bright that this burn can be permanent.

The cone/rod cells in your eyes act similarly to memory foam. Different colors effect them differently, and once an image disappears or changes the cells take a little bit of time to transition back to their natural state.

Memory interference. If there are more related memories they can interfere with each other, making it harder to remember them.

You seem to be describing the phenomenon of “chronostasis”, which is also the cause of the stopped clock illusion.

The basic idea is that our eyes will switch points of focus by rapidly moving in an event called a “saccade”. During a saccade the sensory information from the eyes is likely to be blurry, difficult to process, and generally confusing and unhelpful. So the brain in predictable evolutionary lazy kludge just *doesn’t process it*, throwing it out as too much trouble to bother with.

So we actually go blind for a split second, but the rest of our brain doesn’t like that. Instead it decides to lie to us, covering the gap by filling in temporally adjacent sensory information. With the stopped clock illusion the sort of opposite effect occurs, where you look at a clock just after the second hand has moved and it seems like the next movement takes a longer time to occur than it should. This is because the brain filled in the saccade with the view of the clock, making you believe you were seeing the same thing since the start of the saccade when you were actually blind.

A similar sort of thing could occur with saccades and video frames, where you think you see a frame for longer than you do because it is filling in that blindness gap.