Message Boards Message Boards

Science and Meditation

How Fast does one see?

How Fast does one see?
Answer
1/20/14 2:52 AM
In this recent study scientists at MIT checked out how quickly study subjects could identify visual images. The best results were 13 milliseconds (13/1000 seconds), which is pretty damned fast.

One of their conclusions, whether actually proven or not, is that, to achieve such speed the brain MUST work by "finding concepts".

This fits in nicely with Gotama's five aggregate model (3rd aggregate, perception) and is also the foundation of the successful strategy used by IBMs "watson" project which was so successful at jeopardy.

In the article they mention tha:t "The eyes shift their gaze three times per second, so the ability to process images speedily may help the eyes find their next target, Potter said."

Be that as it may, many of us know that we can comprehend MUCH faster than this 3x per second milestone. I imagine that this rate is the automatic "refresh rate" for most people and represents an average. People like Ted Williams (the splendid splinter of BoSox fame) could follow the spinning seams of a fastball as it left the pitchers hand. This suggests to me that this rate is variable between people (since I can't do it) and goes a little way in explaining the different abilities we read about between vipassana meditators.

In the article they talk about processing loops which take about 50 milliseconds to complete. That seems to me to be about right for one "cycle of comprehension" (my phrase) and is much faster than my best noting performance.

And that's just the visual input!

We are awesome.