Thursday, May 9, 2013

How the human brain sees a 100-mph fastball


Given how slowly our brains react to incoming visual information, it should actually be impossible for us to hit a blistering fastball. But we can. That's because, instead of showing us the world as it really is, our brains offer us a glimpse of the future. 

Indeed, our innate ability to track fast-moving objects has perplexed neuroscientists for some time now. But as a new study published today (May 8) in Neuron suggests, our brains “push” forward moving objects such that we perceive them as being further ahead in time and space than they really are. Without even knowing it, we're doing a bit of time traveling. 

Tracking moving objects

It takes one-tenth of a second for your brain to process what it sees. Now, that might seem like a really short amount of time, but if an object is coming towards you at 120 mph, like a ball from a tennis serve, it will have travelled 15 feet before your brain knows what hit it — perhaps quite literally.

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