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Flies See the World In Slo-Mo, Say Researchers

timothy posted about a year ago | from the sure-passes-quickly-as-the-decades-pass dept.

Science 176

An anonymous reader writes "'The smaller an animal is, and the faster its metabolic rate, the slower time passes for it, scientists found. This means that across a wide range of species, time perception is directly related to size, with animals smaller than us seeing the world in slow motion.' No wonder it took so long to grow up!" Here's the original paper.

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oh no (1, Offtopic)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | about a year ago | (#44873743)

Call the Judge Dredd!

Re:oh no (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873777)

Is Sen. bill Frist still in office, or has he moved onto a Post-political phase of life? I wonder what he'd think of this story.

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874481)

I asked his secretary and she said that his reception was quite Frosty

Re:oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875009)

Thanks. I Stayed in touch with him but lost it once his aids Oscar and Mike left.

Re: oh no (3, Insightful)

Badblackdog (1211452) | about a year ago | (#44873817)

I get the same slow perception of time when I get baked.

Does that mean (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about a year ago | (#44875629)

Flies eat it and you smoke it?

Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (5, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44873771)

Sitting in the left lane going ten under the speed limit while the world screams by.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (2)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44873913)

Seniors see the world at blazing speeds... [s]itting in the left lane going ten under the speed limit while the world screams by.

Well sure. Everyone knows that children grow at an impressive rate. By the time they reach 18, they are twice as large as they were at age 2. Extrapolating from that, by the time they are in their late 60s, the average senior citizen is nearly 50 feet tall and thus perceives the world at a fraction of the rate we young people do. You can see it best in how slowly they change their opinions. From their lofty perspective, nothing has changed.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (2)

robinsonne (952701) | about a year ago | (#44874027)

You must know some really tiny 18-year-olds or some really big 2-year-olds! Most people I know are much more than twice as large as a 2-year-old when they become an adult.

Unless you mean brain size, in which case I think you're being generous to many adults.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (4, Informative)

dpilot (134227) | about a year ago | (#44874223)

Actually no. He's quoting the "pediatrician's rule of thumb", approximately.

Final height as an adult can be guessed by doubling a boy's height at 2 years, or a girls height at 18 months. Worked pretty well for both of my kids. (one of each)

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#44874327)

I think you might live in a world of very large adults or very small children in fact.

Given the extrapolation given was for height, height is what is being talked about. And the average two year old in the US is a little over half the height of the average 18 year old (here's one reference: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr010.pdf [cdc.gov] ).

If you mean weight, then sure, but then the extrapolation makes no sense.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#44874153)

This is why it seems to take so long to turn off the left blinker.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44874445)

Sitting in the left lane going ten under the speed limit while the world screams by.

That's absolutely the fairest and most polite road behaviour in some parts of the world.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874501)

Yes: in those parts of the world where people drive on the left side of the road.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874743)

What's so pollite in going under speed limits? Unless it's necessary, it's totally opposite of pollite to cause other people delays and endanger people.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44874959)

What's so pollite in going under speed limits? Unless it's necessary, it's totally opposite of pollite to cause other people delays and endanger people.

A senior driver may have slower reaction time, therefore it maybe necessary (patience, greenhopper, you may yet live long enough for a direct experience, unless your haste kills you before that). Other than that, picking the left lane is, in some parts of the world, the choice impacting the traffic the least.

Speed LIMIT is an upper bound, not a requirement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875407)

Speed LIMIT is an upper bound, not a requirement.

In a 75 mile per hour zone, 65 is a perfectly fine speed, depending on the experience and capability of the driver. Likewise 55 in a 65 limit. 45 in a 55 is perfectly legal. 30 mph limits very frequently have spots that are posted as 20MPH recommended and even 15 or 10 MPH required at times (School zones, hospital area, etc.) Nobody is endangered by someone driving 10 miles below the speed LIMIT unless the other drivers are arrogant, dangerous assholes.

The primary responsibility of the operator of any motorized transit is safety, followed by resource efficiency, etc. Minimizing time to destination is far, far down the list for any competent and knowledgeable driver. Emergency services may be an exception, but they have special training, and they still put a big emphasis on safety.

You, however, are an arrogant asshole and therefore by definition a poor operator and obviously incapable of understanding your responsibilities. Please surrender your license immediately.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44874747)

I agree it's funny but it's actually backwards -- the older you get, the faster time goes. When I had six months left in the military it was forever. Now that I'm six months away from retirement, meh, six months ain't shit.

I'm 61 and was talking about that with my Mom over the weekend. "Wait until you're my age!" she said. Hell, that's only 23 years, not long at all. Unless you are 23, in which case it's a lifetime.

Even my 26 year old daughter has started noticing it.

Re:Seniors see the world at blazing speeds (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#44875011)

You joke, but I really think there is something to this.

When I was in first or second grade (1970s), the U.S. was in the middle of its metric conversion program. We were taught the size of a cm vs an inch, the weight of a gram vs. an ounce, etc. I came up with some equivalencies on my own to help me remember everything. A cm was about the width of my thumb at the time. An inch was the length of of my folded middle finger. A foot was about the length of of my fist to my elbow... (Obviously none of these work anymore because I was a lot smaller back then.)

Then we got to time. How long is a second? I tried counting "one one-thousand, two one-thousand" in my head like my teacher had suggested. It was too fast. I eventually came up with a "one (pause) and a two (pause) and a..." chant which (for me) accurately measured out each second.

I'm in my 40s now and if I try my old timing chant, it's too slow. Each second I count takes nearly 2 seconds real-time. The "one one-thousand, two one-thousand" mnemonic now works for me. This also matches my memories of staring at the second hand on the clock in class, waiting for the time to pass so school would end. I watch a clock (with a second hand) today and it seems to move almost twice as fast as I remember it moving back then.

My timing hasn't changed. I started playing piano in second grade. When I listen to old tape recordings of songs I still play, my tempo hasn't changed. The only explanation I can come up with is that my verbal and visual processing has slowed down with age. My piano playing has had the tempo reinforced every time I hear a recording of a piece, so it gradually (to my brain) sped up over the years to keep pace with my slower processing.

well..that is obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873781)

This isn't exactly news. The speed at which they sample the world leads to time perception difference. Big surprise that when compared to our sampling speed it seems 'slow' but really it just means they sample faster -- their time perception of the passage of time is of HIGHER fidelity/resolution than ours is all this really means.

Re:well..that is obvious (1, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44873861)

This isn't exactly news. The speed at which they sample the world leads to time perception difference. Big surprise that when compared to our sampling speed it seems 'slow' but really it just means they sample faster -- their time perception of the passage of time is of HIGHER fidelity/resolution than ours is all this really means.

you left out why I think they made the assumption. it's not just sampling rate, it's the possible sampling rate: less distance to travel in the brain since the brain is smaller..

Re:well..that is obvious (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44875073)

Not only are the distances involved much shorter but they are sampling much simpler images as well.

Within a species? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44873807)

From TFA:

People have shown in humans that flicker fusion frequency is related to a person's subjective perception of time, and it changes with age. It's certainly faster in children.

What about differences in physical size between members of the same species? I've heard "He's pretty quick for a big guy." But nobody ever says that of smaller people. Its just sort of a given.

Re:Within a species? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44874021)

Well, big guys have big levers to actuate too, so that's part of it. But I also read once that a brontosaurus would take 3 seconds to feel a poke on its tail.

I find it sort of interesting that those B movie versions of Jack and the Beanstalk that show the slow, lumbering giants trying to squish Jack while he relatively darts around - were probably right.

Re:Within a species? (3, Informative)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#44874273)

Correct. For those who don't believe this, go out in a field and catch a rabbit bare handed.

As for the bronto, it's not really possible to know because we do not know what type of myelin sheathing they had on their nerves. It could be that their nerves propagated signals at 2mph (Iow end) or 200mph (highest). We don't know.

If 2mph, a sixty foot animal's brain would get the signal in about three seconds, at 200 mph at .03sec. Or anywhere in between.

Not really relevant though as the bronts had ganglia along their spines that did the reactions. Say the tail was 25 of that 60 and you have a little under a second low end perception time.

Re:Within a species? (1)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#44874733)

Probably if you poked a Brontosaurus's tail, it would probably side-swipe the tail as a automatic reaction.

Re:Within a species? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44874493)

You must have read that quite a long time ago as there is no species called a brontosaurus.

Re:Within a species? (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about a year ago | (#44875529)

The same way there isn't a planet called Pluto!
But it is true, the good old Brontosaurus is now known as the Apatosaurus [wikipedia.org] .

Truckers Diggers and Wings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873825)

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bromeliad-Trilogy-Truckers-Diggers/dp/0060094931

This is the central premise of the Bromeliad Trilogy and gnomes... well, that and the box. And learning how to learn (chasing requirements)... sort of a philosophical fantasy book about project management.

Re:Truckers Diggers and Wings (1)

kulervo (1597181) | about a year ago | (#44875291)

Yes! I was hoping someone would make the connection. It's a rare day in life when you get to say that an idea in Terry Pratchett's fiction is scientifically validated!

The idea in the book was that there were little gnomes that lived around/among us but were so small that they lived their lives on a different time frame. They were so fast and so discrete that regular humans rarely noticed them.

Per Wikipedia there is a movie on the way.

Makes complete sense (3, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#44873831)

I remember as a kid watching a sparrow fly through a chain link fence and thinking that kind of reaction time was impossible. Plus, when you look at the reaction time of smaller animals to a perceived threat (you trying to sneak up on one), we can't come close at our size.

Re:Makes complete sense (5, Funny)

Ogive17 (691899) | about a year ago | (#44873851)

You haven't seen my reaction time when I spot a spider.

Re:Makes complete sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874473)

But drop bears are so fast you NEVER see them.

Re:Makes complete sense (3, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44874047)

I've thought of this too every time I try to swat a fly that found its way into my house. Flies seem to be able to do aerial maneuvers in reaction to threats that you would think impossible given their tiny brains. I often wondered if it wasn't that they were so quick, but that (to them) I was moving so slow. This might also explain why they seem to like buzzing right by me when I'm trying to kill them. They're taunting the big creature moving in slow motion. "You think you can catch me? I'm right in front of you. Nope. Now I'm over here. Over here. Over here. Too slow. Try and catch me." *zips into another room*

Re:Makes complete sense (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874431)

To kill flies (on a horizontal surface) with a high success rate, slowly move your hands near the fly so that your hands are about three inches above the surface and six inches apart. You should have the fly centered between your hands. That's the hard part-- getting into that position without spooking the fly.

Now, as fast as you can, clap your hands once and leave them together. Usually the fly will fly straight up between your hands. Unfortunately, killing the fly may require some mashing your hands around, or you can catch-and-release the fly to the outdoors assuming you can get outside without the use of your hands. It is sometimes possible to maneuver the fly around so you can get it pinched between two fingers to free up one of your hands.

Re:Makes complete sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875385)

Pray tell, why suffer the pest to live?

Re:Makes complete sense (1)

Phiu-x (513322) | about a year ago | (#44875711)

Karma!

Re:Makes complete sense (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a year ago | (#44874525)

I've thought of this too every time I try to swat a fly that found its way into my house. Flies seem to be able to do aerial maneuvers in reaction to threats that you would think impossible given their tiny brains. I often wondered if it wasn't that they were so quick, but that (to them) I was moving so slow. This might also explain why they seem to like buzzing right by me when I'm trying to kill them. They're taunting the big creature moving in slow motion. "You think you can catch me? I'm right in front of you. Nope. Now I'm over here. Over here. Over here. Too slow. Try and catch me." *zips into another room*

Funny, I have no problem catching flies, even the tiny fruit flies. Perhaps it comes with all of that practice swatting mosquitoes and deer flies as a kid. Now, catching a fly with chop-sticks (Karate Kid) is an entirely different thing. I can't even catch food with chop-sticks unless I sharpen the ends with a pocket knife... (grin)

Re:Makes complete sense (2)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | about a year ago | (#44874783)

I've thought of this too every time I try to swat a fly that found its way into my house. Flies seem to be able to do aerial maneuvers in reaction to threats that you would think impossible given their tiny brains.

I thought it was because your hand creates a big buffer of air in front of it, like a bow wave. The fly is so small, it's easily buffeted ahead and aside, so any manoeuvring gets it out of the line of your hand. Even easier when your hand approaches a hard surface - then the air squishes out to the sides, and the fly goes out with it. This is probably easier to visualize in a body of water - float a cork or a small piece of plastic in your sink, put your hand in the water, then try to squish the item up against the side of the sink. It won't work most of the time, as the bow wave will push the item off to one side, and it only gets worse the faster your move your hand.

I expect that's why fly swatters are just a mesh - so the air can flow through without creating an air buffer.

Re:Makes complete sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874987)

Iv'e tried vacuuming up houseflies, but found that no matter how quick I was with the nozzle, they would react and fly out of the way. No air cushion needed (but an air cushion surely does help the fly to get out of the way, since once airborne it's affected by air currents.
But if I move the nozzle towards the fly very slowly, it will not react to the threat until the airstream starts tugging at it, and by that point it's already too late. Apparently it either doens't perceive the slow movement, or doesn't see it as a threat.

Re:Makes complete sense (1)

matfud (464184) | about a year ago | (#44875997)

Try slapping them from behind. They can still see you and react in the same way but can not get out of the way fast enough.

Re:Makes complete sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874805)

Flies don't have brains

Re:Makes complete sense (2)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#44874919)

The trick is that flies don't think about flying like the way a human would fly a plane - they react by something called "optic flow". Basically flight control is governed directly by the relative motion of different areas of their visual field and the resulting neuron activity. Moving straight ahead causes all objects to move away from the centre of vision. Moving backwards, causes objects to move towards the centre of vision. Turning will cause a couple of areas to remain static while others move rapidly. Reaction to threats is simply "if a shadow rapidly gets larger then fly away towards a bright patch of light."

Though I am sure that a couple of times that I've missed swatting a large fly, they fly back and around to inspect what attempted to hit them.

It's known that bees can recognize and memorize different 3D shapes like flowers, and that this can be applied to human faces as well.

Re:Makes complete sense (2)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year ago | (#44875025)

Reaction to threats is simply "if a shadow rapidly gets larger then fly away towards a bright patch of light."

So that's what I've been doing wrong. Next time I have to swat a fly I'll use a flashlight.

Re:Makes complete sense (2)

dpilot (134227) | about a year ago | (#44874325)

Think about this for a moment from an evolutionary point of view. It make sense for the sampling rate of your brain to be geared to your body size - really to your ability to make your body move. In essence, if you could think/sample faster it usually wouldn't matter because you normally couldn't translate those faster thoughts into appropriate actions. Then add the fact that the brain is the densest user of energy in the body. To speed your thinking/sampling rate would likely mean burning more energy, and it usually wouldn't pay.

It's simple conservation and moving toward a balanced design.

(I say "usually" above when justifying slower thought because sometimes faster thinking might select a better course of action before starting to move. Also usually, once you've committed to moving, faster thinking might make you re-think your move when you're body is too slow to change course anyway. In that case, instead of "action A" (the original) or :action B" (the update) you might get some sort of hybrid "action C", which would be worse than either of the others.)

Re:Makes complete sense (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44874993)

My nephew, when he was a kid, chased down and caught a chipmunk [wikipedia.org] with his bare hands. I'd never seen him move so fast. I doubt he can do that now.

No wonder.... (2)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about a year ago | (#44873833)

....I can't swat the damn things. They have an unfair advantage!

Re:No wonder.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873911)

Slowpoke ;-)

I drop-kicked one as a kid.

Bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873835)

for snails! This makes their life really boring: slow moving, plus slow motion. Probably as boring as an average slashdotter.

Re:Bad news (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44875397)

Actually, creatures with a slow metabolism have slower perception of time as well, as the title of the paper says. The European eel, blacknose shark, and tokay gecko had the slowest, third slowest, and fourth slowest reaction times out of all animals surveyed, and they're relatively small but have very slow metabolisms.

Snails probably aren't that much better.

Splattt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873841)

So, they can read the front page of the newspaper, before it squashes them. Handy!

Re:Splattt... (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | about a year ago | (#44873863)

So, they can read the front page of the newspaper, before it squashes them. Handy!

By the time they've read it they probably *want* to die.

Have you ever tried to swat a fly? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873869)

You practically have to be on meth to catch one. And then the problem is with the spiders in the corners of your eyes.

Re:Have you ever tried to swat a fly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875553)

And then the problem is with the spiders in the corners of your eyes.

You clearly go too long in between blinking if spiders are setting up home in your tear ducts...

Re:Have you ever tried to swat a fly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875561)

You have spiders in your eyes?

Is that like having a botfly under your skin?

You might want to see a doctor about that.

So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (1)

Lew Perin (30124) | about a year ago | (#44873881)

Then why is it ever possible to swat a fly?

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44873955)

I suspect it's because speed is no cure for stupidity.

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873971)

if you move your hand slower, it will seem to the fly that your hand is stopped. Then, apply force!

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874103)

Because 4 times as twitchy isn't enough to avoid our attacks every time, just most of the time.

We have the advantage in depth of perception, and we can launch a strike against a fly before it is even aware of a threat.

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (3, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#44874191)

Fly swatters flick faster than we can move our own hands. In other cases, we can strategically hit one step ahead of where we think they'll be.

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (4, Insightful)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about a year ago | (#44874321)

just because their brain processes things faster it doesn't mean they can move fast enough to get out of the way. Consider the size of a flyswatter in relation to the size of the fly

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (3, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44874633)

Then why is it ever possible to swat a fly?

Why... that's elementary! The flys are so bored to death by watching you in slo-mo, some will fall asleep.

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874845)

I prefer to wait for one to land near the edge of a table, sneak my hand under that same spot, then bring my hand up over the edge and down on the fly in one swift motion. By the time it can see my hand, it's already within an inch of the fly, and it can't become airborne fast enough. You can't move faster than the fly, but you can outsmart it.

Re:So flies are 4 times as twitchy as we are? (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | about a year ago | (#44875701)

I don't know about flies, but some insects, like roaches, have air current sensors near their back legs. If they feel an air current rushing towards them, a signal is sent to their legs to start running forward. This detect/react cycle bypasses the longer trek to the brain and then back down to the legs. With flies and mosquitoes, if you slowly creep up on them with a hand, swatter, tissue box, shoe, etc., and THEN quickly strike, your kill chances are greater. The time difference between them detecting an air current and being smooshed is a lot less. You'd think they'd detect/react to a HUGE object gaining proximity and blocking more light, but nope, they don't.

A fly-swatter is a double-whammy for a fly. The holes means less air resistance, so we can swing faster. Holes also mean less air current rushed at the fly, so they are less likely to detect/react to it. You can also "snap" your wrist so the swatter travels over a wide arc. Not only will you get a fulcrum effect for faster speed, but less of the air current is directed at the fly, so they don't react as well.

Wow latency time dependent on die size (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | about a year ago | (#44873885)

Who would ever have thunk it. Time of flight of a signal is dependent on distance.
Next they will tell me that ping times are smaller for nearer nodes and I will be astounded and mystified.
I am looking forward to overclocking flies for super slo-mo, however.

Insect, meet windshield (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873915)

Can't imagine what it's like for those pesky little buggers that are raining down on my windshield each day.

Re:Insect, meet windshield (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874941)

"I was flying along happily, buzzing happily full of summery joy, when the sky came out of nowhere and hit me. I hate karma."

So Ents see life fly by? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44873919)

Hmmm, this would seem to contradict Tolkiens Ents, unless Trees metabiloc rates are faster than we think.

Giants, Elephants and Whales likewise should be the Tweakers of the Animal/Fantasy kingdom.

Quicklings, probably do have have high metabolisms, and think the world moves too slow for their tastes, so Gygax got it right?

Elves are about the same size as Humans so there must be some Prozac in Lamnas Bread.

Re:So Ents see life fly by? (4, Informative)

ekgringo (693136) | about a year ago | (#44874165)

I think you've got it backwards and Tolkien was right. As I remember, the Ents were complaining that the much smaller hobbits were being too hasty. Their Entmoot took several hours just to get through the meet & greet stage and it took them a day or two to come to a decision to do something.

Re:So Ents see life fly by? (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#44874581)

As I remember, the Ents were complaining that the much smaller hobbits were being too hasty. Their Entmoot took several hours just to get through the meet & greet stage and it took them a day or two to come to a decision to do something.

ObligatoryFlameBait: So, the Ents work 10x faster than the US Congress?

Re:So Ents see life fly by? (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44875131)

But.... [spoiler alert]... But wasn't the decision that took them all day to arrive at a decision to not do anything at all? In fact, they only really decided to do something after they saw what Saruman had done, and the decision to act then was made almost immediately.

Adrenaline (1)

muhula (621678) | about a year ago | (#44873923)

Moments before a car accident, things seem to slow down and reaction times increase... because adrenaline would increase your metabolic rate

Re:Adrenaline (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44874157)

It's not just adrenaline. It's also focus. When you concentrate on one input, you sample it at a much higher frequency, so it does seem that time slows both during the event and later in your memories... because you have so many of them.

Doh! (2)

turin39789 (921870) | about a year ago | (#44874013)

I read that as 'FILES'

Makes sense, actually (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about a year ago | (#44874061)

Higher sample rate = more samples per second ~ more frames per second = slow motion. Shorter nerve lengths as well...

God's time (1)

pellik (193063) | about a year ago | (#44874117)

So an omnipresent being (everywhere, the size of everything), should have a time scale which relative to ours approaches zero.

Re:God's time (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about a year ago | (#44874351)

Or time has no meaning for such a being, which is vastly different than saying it approaches or touches zero. Think Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen.

Re:God's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44874453)

This is also why beings living on the surface of neutron stars are two dimensional disks for all practical purposes.

Re:God's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875419)

It's also why it's so difficult to read the mind of A'Tuin.

So the movie Epic got it right (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44874345)

Hey, don't judge...it was my week to chaperone the pre-teen girls on movie night.

Epic (2)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#44874373)

Funny timing. I just had a "movie night" on Saturday with my kids and saw "Epic" for the first time, whose premise is based on this idea (insects and small things which live in slo-mo world, or rather, that they see themselves as moving normally while they see us "big people" as large, slow moving, bumbling idiots).

No, dammit, they see into the FUTURE... (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#44874541)

... at least I am convinced of that every time I try to sneak up on one and kill it...

I thought this was well known (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44874607)

I honestly though this was common knowledge already. Maybe I'm a little slow.

The rate is different, but is it also variable? (1)

djpretzel (891427) | about a year ago | (#44874613)

And if so, by how much? It's one thing to say that flies perceive time differently than we do, but I'm curious as to whether: 1. Among many flies, there is variance from fly to fly (both independent and dependent of relative size), and if so, what that variance is... 2. For a single fly, whether there is variance based on age, environment, time of day, etc. It's always seemed to me like those with an extraordinary talent at something, esp. an athletic or musical talent, are able to slow down time when performing this talent. I'd tend to say that perception of time should more and more be considered a sense, like sight, sound, taste, etc.

I figured this out decades ago ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44874887)

... when I was a kid wondering how flies could so easily see the fly swatter or my hand approaching. My guess was that since their brain was smaller, signals didn't have so far to go, and could be processed faster ... and they would see the world from this faster-brain perspective as a slow world.

Less processing == faster processing (1)

Theovon (109752) | about a year ago | (#44874909)

Fly neurons aren't terribly different from ours. There are just fewer of them, doing less sophisticated processing. So the amount of processing that is done can happen in less time. In other news, Gedit is smaller and faster (at simple text editing) than Libre Office.

This is one of those situations where the intuitively obvious is now scientifically established in a way that it wasn't before, I guess. But that's important, because a lot of intuitively obvious things are wrong, so they all have to be tested.

Re:Less processing == faster processing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875349)

So flies have RISC processors while humans have CISC processors?

Re:Less processing == faster processing (1)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#44875905)

Your comment reminds me of a novel called Blindsight [rifters.com] by Peter Watts about an alien species that threatens Earth and humanity despite not having any individual or group consciousness. The author makes a claim that our consciousness slows us down and puts us at a severe disadvantage compared to other species (like the aliens) which can think much faster than us because they don't have an additional processing layer of consciousness to slow them down. I thought it was a really good book, and worth reading in my opinion.

Silly conclusions - shorter neural pathways (1)

ace37 (2302468) | about a year ago | (#44874983)

While size would matter, I don't see why metabolic rate should have anything to do with it. It's also funny to hear it described as 'time going slower.'

The nervous system pathways for flies are much shorter. Therefore, flies have lower lag. Go figure.

Just like an L2 cache on a computer processor, since the speed of information travel is pretty well fixed for the selected technology, using shorter path lengths yields faster response times provided the tasks are simple enough to benefit from it. Reflexes in people are like this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflex [wikipedia.org] Detailed thinking has a lot more overhead. And while stimulus-response is more rapid for reflex type behaviors, the speed of thought is the same. (An L2 cache won't change the speed of light.) Using reflex is just a more efficient arrangement for certain types of tasks.

mod 30wn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875065)

Survey which Recruitment, but of OpenBSD versus SAID. 'SCREAMING The failure of About a project

Makes sense (1)

kimvette (919543) | about a year ago | (#44875151)

It makes total sense. Think of it like shrinking a processor die - by bringing the transistors closer together you decrease the distance the signal needs to travel to be processed. Compare the size of a human brain to a fly's brain; 100,000 neurons and 10 million synapses that are packed into a space smaller than 1 mm^3 vs. a human's 87 billion neurons and 10^15 synapses for the entire nervous system, with the brain alone comprising 1250 cm^3 of volume.

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875157)

Signed,

I learnt this at school pre-1976 (2)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#44875181)

I always remember a science teacher telling us about this at school (what year, I can't remember, but I left school in 1976), and his statement was; "If a fly watched a film, it would see a still frame for a few seconds, then the next frame etc., as time moves more slowly the smaller the animal".

Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875195)

a fly.

No, a cat does not "got my tongue". (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44875605)

I wondered about this 30 years ago. It's more an issue of mass than anything else. You can move faster, so your brain operates more quickly to compensate. Whales and elephants even slower.

I would hypothesize an elephant brain in a vat tied in to a mouse body would speed up accordingly, and it would be less related to brain size (and intra-neural distances) than what it has to accomplish.

Similarly a human mind in a virtual world might speed up if the world's physics were sped up AKA had lowered mass relative to energy. This will be an interesting experiment for Occulus VR.

Fat People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875683)

That must be why fat people driver slower than everyone else. They have a slower perception of time cos they are bigger.

Fruit Flies (1)

jtnix (173853) | about a year ago | (#44875753)

Explains why those pesky drosophila are such artful dodgers!

How to get back at flies. (2)

mindwanderer (1169521) | about a year ago | (#44875913)

This is probably why you can cup a fly with your hand if you do it slowly enough; any motion that seems slow to us will be imperceptible to the insect. It also makes it impossible for the fly to sense the air displacement.

I had this theory ages ago for cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875969)

I was always called an idiot for it.
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