Saccadic Eye Movements

Saccadic eye movements have been shown to help our brains in a variety of areas, specifically horizontal eye movements. At Academics Plus, we utilize a program called Brainjogging as a way to sync the cognitive processes. As a major component of the Brainjogging program, eye movements help to reduce anxiety and boost processing speed. Research has shown that eye movements can also improve your memory (Parker, Parkin, & Dagnall, 2013). When performing side-to-side eye movements, the leftward eye movement activates the right hemisphere of the brain and rightward eye movements activate the left hemisphere of your brain. Activating both brain hemispheres in this manner helps them to interact, which increases memory capacity and recall. Researchers have also found that people who performed horizontal eye movements not only recalled more words from a list, but were also less likely to be fooled by “lure” words . Doing these eye movements consistently over time, such as with Brainjogging, will help your memory continue to improve.

In addition to improving your memory, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that eye movement training can lead to better early reading fluency. They discovered that young children have imprecise eye movements, causing the need to re-read text and therefore take longer to read a passage. Students who performed eye movement exercises significantly improved their reading fluency scores, and also had higher scores a year later (Leong et al., 2014). In Brainjogging, eye movements are organized so that they follow the same pattern as reading; left to right, top to bottom.

Eye movements help the eyes to focus better and more quickly. Research has shown that a pattern occurs during saccadic eye movements and this pattern allows visual processing to occur in the fovea, the center of the vision field, sooner. As a result of faster visual processing, the eyes are able to focus on an object sooner. In turn, communication between neurons is increased and the brain is able to encode spatial positions more quickly and efficiently. At Academics Plus, we believe that doing these eye movement exercises as part of the Brainjogging program truly helps to boost our kids is all types of cognitive and academic areas.

Parker, A., Parkin, A., Dagnall, N. (2013). Effects of saccadic bilateral eye movements on episodic and semantic autobiographical memory fluency. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 630. doi:  10.3389/fnhum.2013.00630

Leong, D. F., Master, C. L., Messner, L. V., Pang, Y., Smith, C., & Starling, A. J. (2014). The effect of saccadic training on early reading fluency. Clinical Pediatrics. doi:10.1177/0009922814532520