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Thread: What is your reaction time?

  1. #1

    What is your reaction time?

    You can test yourself. My reaction time is about 0.300 seconds. The question is why does it take so long.

    Light travels instantly but your retina takes a little while after the light hits it, to generate an action potential that has to travel to the visual cortex. That may take 0.020 seconds. It may take 0.020 seconds for the visual cortex to activate and to send a message to your motor cortex. Your motor cortex activates your basal ganglia and cerebellar cortex, which sets up the rest of the body, and then sends the signal out to your hand muscles to press the mouse button. The actual sending out of the signal from the brain to the hand should be no more than 0.030 seconds. So, in total, it might take 0.070 seconds or 70 msec but it takes 0.300 or 300 millisecond. So, there is a central processing time of at least 220 milliseconds.

    Why does it take so long?

    Last edited by Wise Young; 01-21-2008 at 10:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tom's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    SW Missouri
    I'm going from memory without researching, so I may well be wrong.

    We all swear that our eyes, brains and nerves are far faster than typical reaction times of 2 to 3 tenths of a second (for example, seeing danger, stomping on the brake pedal, or squeezing a brake lever, or turning the steering wheel of a car or the handlebars on a bike). Or drag racing, where reaction times make or break a run within the first 60 feet. But our bodies let us down where the brain and CNS doesn't.

    There's a limit to how fast our muscles interpret a signal from the brain, and an even longer time for the necessary muscles to contract and perform the order given by the brain (and how exactly the brain gives THAT order is a remarkably mysterious feat in itself). I do know there are several different muscle fibers - slow twitch and fast twich among others. But all these different muscles twitch at a certain rate. Thus the limiting factor as a part of reaction times.

    I believe I saw on Animal Planet a segment about the African chameleon and it's amazing tongue - it launches its tongue as far and fast as it does because of an extremely powerful and fast-twitching muscle in its jaw - chameleon sees prey, brain gives order, POW, dinnertime.


    BTW, just tried the RT test - averaged .225 and .231 using the mouse with right finger, and then .2206 (with one bad time of .29 included using the left finger on the enter button) - how much difference could a wireless mouse make? Or along the analogy of a nervous system, how much of a factor might a computer's performance be?
    Last edited by Tom; 01-21-2008 at 08:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Florida Keys
    Fun... I blame my wireless mouse. Check out the lucky guess on the last attempt (#5 on the second screenshot.)
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 01-21-2008 at 09:17 AM.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

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  4. #4

    Juke, that's pretty amazing.

  5. #5
    Banned adi chicago's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    near dracula castle
    .115.....i am fast .
    • Dum spiro, spero.
      • Translation: "As long as I breathe, I hope."

  6. #6
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    East Haven, CT
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  7. #7

    Did anyone else have times which increased with each of the five attempts? I was progressively slower, but thought I'd get faster each try.

    Some of you guys are s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g fast.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    SW Florida

    I got progressively faster with more attempts. I can get down to .20.

  9. #9
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    Why oh why is the damn occipital (visual) or whatever in the back of the head while the temporal (auditory) is where it should be!
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by lynnifer
    Why oh why is the damn occipital (visual) or whatever in the back of the head while the temporal (auditory) is where it should be!
    I predict that the higher the injury, the faster the reaction time. I'll explain later.


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