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Does a Cyclops Blink or Wink?

By Andy Watkins


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I’m sure you’ve probably come across the age-old question of whether someone or something with one eye winks or blinks, usually resulting in humorous memes or opinions. The cyclops is no different. 

But what is the scientific answer? That’s exactly what we were quested to solve here.

If you were to search up if a cyclops could blink or wink on google, you would probably find that the majority of the population firmly believe that they cannot wink. They blink because they only have one eye. I believe this is incorrect. I believe the answer to if a cyclops blinks or winks is in fact yes, they can do both. Technically the cyclops satisfies all biological requirements to successfully wink and blink.

Interested in how this conclusion was made? Below I explain exactly how these qualifications are met.

What is Blinking and Winking?

First and foremost, what is the definition of blinking and winking and what do they entail?

— Blinking

Blinking is defined in the dictionary as closing and opening the eyes very quickly. It is a necessary bodily function used to lubricate the eye and remove irritants.

There are three types of blinking:

  • Spontaneous blink – this form of blinking is unconsciously done. It utilises the premotor brain stem and does not need internal effort or external stimuli to initiate.
  • Reflex blink – This is a natural response of the eye when there is a sudden stimulus. It is not necessarily consciously done and happens at a faster speed than the spontaneous blink.
  • Voluntary blink – a voluntary blink is a blink that is consciously done and as a result is often slower than the first two.

Studies have shown that some humans and animals alike can blink their eyes individually.

— Winking

Winking is defined in the dictionary as the act of opening and closing one eye quickly, usually to indicate a joke or secret.

So what’s the difference?

Blinking is the eye’s natural response, and can be involuntary or not, while winking is used as a gesture. It is slower than a blink and is always done voluntarily.

In the animal kingdom, animals can blink with one eye but it is described by biologists as blinking, not winking. It is categorized as blinking because winking is referenced to joking or flirting. As humans, we can understand this done by other humans because we understand human psychology. We have not achieved a level of science yet that can read the minds of animals and therefore can not determine what it is thinking or intending when it blinks.

With this in mind, the use of facial expressions are used in humans to determine if it is a wink or a blink.

This means that a wink is simply a slow, controlled blink used to deliver intentions and so is a subset of blinking, technically falling in the voluntary blink category so if you can wink, you can blink.

This confirms that a cyclops can blink. It is a necessary action that the body does to protect its eyes. 

The question now is if they can wink.

The cyclops isn’t a human, but it’s not an animal ethier. It is a humanoid. Though not human, the cyclops has human-like facial features and muscles which gives it the ability to smirk, smile and even laugh.

In addition to this, though it is generally understood that to wink you would close one eye and leave the other open, this is not actually listed in the definition. It simply says to open and close voluntarily in a gesture, and so I conclude that if the cyclops were to laugh or say a joke and open and close it’s eye while smirking, this would be seen as a wink.

About Andy Watkins

I have always been interested in mythology. From a very early age in Britain, I was known to sit at the breakfast table reading encyclopedias about many of the major world mythologies. Learn more about MythNerd's Editorial Process.

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