the blink is either something
that helps an internal separation of thought to take
place, or it is an involuntary reflex accompanying the
mental separation that is taking place anyway. 15
And not only is the rate of blinking significant,
but so is the actual instant of the blink itself. Start a
conversation with somebody and watch when they
blink. I believe you will find that your listener will
blink at the precise moment he or she "gets" the idea
of what you are saying, not an instant earlier or later.
Why would this be? Well, speech is full of unobserved
grace notes and elaborations-the conversational
equivalents of "Dear Sir" and "Yours Sincerely"-and
the essence of what we have to say is often sandwiched
between an introduction and a conclusion. The
blink will take place either when the listener realizes
our "introduction" is finished and that now we are
going to say something significant, or it will happen
when he feels we are "winding down" and not going
to say anything more significant for the moment.
And that blink will occur where a cut could have
happened, had the conversation been filmed. Not a
frame earlier or later.
So we entertain an idea, or a linked sequence of
ideas, and we blink to separate and punctuate that
idea from what follows.