Is the phenomenon that things look like slow motion really applicable? : Science of human vision and brain

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※What’s the point of appearing to be in slow motion?

A person involved in a traffic accident sometimes says that “the surroundings looked like slow motion at the time of the accident.”


This is a visual phenomenon called Tachypsychia phenomenon, which has been scientifically studied.


I understand the feeling that if you’re in a crisis and everything around you looks like it’s in slow motion, that’s awesome.


However, I’m curious to see how far this can be applied to sports and Budo.


That’s why I’d like to tell a scientific story about the eyes that trick the human brain.


Does it really go into slow motion?

Time stops only when you blink.

Reason or instinct?

Does it really go into slow motion?

To begin with, human vision is easy to be deceived.


Trick art is a good example, the human brain is easily fooled by simple things.


Tachypsychia is the Greek word for “mental speed”, a phenomenon in which the surroundings appear to be in slow motion when faced with a crisis.


Is it true that when you sense danger, your surroundings go into slow motion?


That’s when neuroscientist David M. Eagleman came up with the question.


He conducted an experiment in which he pushed a student off a 50-meter-long steel tower with a protective net underneath.(1)


Participants were first asked to watch others fall from the tower and then to simulate the time of the fall.


He asked the students to simulate the time how they felt once again after being dropped from a steel tower.


While the normal fall time was 2.49 seconds, the physical fall time increased by approximately 36%.


Most of the participants testified that they went into slow motion.


What’s interesting about science is that it doesn’t end with simply saying it’s amazing because it’s in slow motion.


It’s a science to question whether it’s really in slow motion.


The researchers made the arms of people dropped from steel towers wear devices that displayed numbers at speeds that would not normally be readable.


If it’s really in slow motion, the numbers should be readable.


As a result of the experiment, it was not possible to read that number during the fall.


The results were about the same as if the students had tried to read the numbers normally on the ground.


So, it turns out that it’s not actually in slow motion.


The researcher’s answer was that the students may have assumed later that they were in slow motion.


Well, there were about 21 participants in the experiment, and one of them was excluded because he couldn’t open his eyes during the fall, so it’s not very reliable as an experiment.


Even in reality, the only people who testified that it went into slow motion were the ones who were saved.


So it’s tenuous to say that it survived because it went into slow motion.


※Just because your opponent is slow doesn’t mean you can avoid them.


Even if the testimony is that he saved his life by protecting his head during slow motion, it is not impossible to do so without slow motion.


Considering the causal relationship, the fact that it appears to be in slow motion doesn’t seem to matter in and of itself.

Time stops only when you blink.

More on visual deception.


A study from Hebrew University found that people’s brains shut down their sense of time while they blink.(2)


We blink all the time, but usually we don’t know when we blink.


This is because the time your eyes are closed is made unconscious by your brain.


In other words, when you blink and your eyes are closed, you’re not aware of it because time is ticking away.


The time between closing your eyes is disappearing.


There’s also another phenomenon called chronostasis.(3)


This phenomenon is that when you witness the moment when something moving stops, you feel that the time you are stopped is longer.


It is known as a phenomenon that occurs when you are looking at the second hand of a clock.


The simple explanation is that when you witness the moment when something moving stops, your brain ignores the fact that it was moving,


so the fact that it was moving disappears, resulting in the illusion that it has been standing still for a long time.




But thanks to this kind of brain processing, the world we’re seeing is stable even when we’re rapidly moving our gaze.


The point here is that our visual sense of time is not very good at all.

Reason or instinct?

Going back to the Tachypsychia phenomenon, it is said that the reason why this happens is due to an instinctive response that we have acquired in the course of our evolution.


This is due to the fight-or-flight response, an instinctive response that many animals have.(4)


Once upon a time, before civilization existed, people had to make an instantaneous decision to fight or flee when they sensed some kind of danger.


We didn’t have time to take our time to think, even though there might be carnivores, so when we sensed a crisis, we raised our blood pressure at once, pumped out adrenaline, and focused everything on instantaneous power.


As a result of tens of thousands of years of this kind of time, the fight-or-flight response is imprinted in our instincts.


There’s a story that this instinct isn’t a jungle, but it’s malfunctioning in the modern world.


In modern times, this instinct prevents us from acting rationally, creating a vicious cycle.


(※)If you can reason, you can do a lariat instead of a blow.


This fight-or-flight instinct is said to be the cause of poor children’s poor classroom attitudes and strangers getting into fist fights with each other by not being able to control their instincts well.


Even worse, people who act irrationally due to the fight-or-flight response will later try to make a rational explanation for their actions.


Such a person will instinctively explain afterwards that there was some cause for their anger.


I personally believe that Budo is there to get past these instinctive reactions.


There’s no point in getting caught up in the fight-or-flight response if the ideal is to control yourself properly.


Some of the most common ways to deal with this instinct are to meditate, turn off notifications on social networks and apps, and create time to focus.


By being sensitive to the changes that are happening to your body, you will be able to control the changes.


You can also wear this in your Budo practice.


For these reasons, my opinion is that the Tachypsychia phenomenon caused by instinct is different from Budo in what it seeks.


It will be difficult to apply it in sports and other situations.


(1)Does Time Really Slow Down during a Frightening Event?

(2)Your Brain Stops Time When You Blink

(3)Illusory perceptions of space and time preserve cross-saccadic perceptual continuity

(4)Fight-or-flight response(Wikipedia)

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