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Time diff

  1. Jun 6, 2004 #1
    does a fly percieve time slower than that of a human ?

    i.e if I move quickly to squat a fly with my fly squatter to me my moverment appears quick but to the fly does that fly squat come down at a slower rate in contrast to the rate I see it ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2004 #2
    There's really no way of knowing. It's just like asking whether what I experience when I see a red object is the same as what you experience when you see a red object. There's no experiment you can perform to find out.
  4. Jun 7, 2004 #3


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    At this point in time, Pyrovus is right. There is no experiment that you can perform to figure out your questions; however, as AI advances, one day we will be able to perform such experiments.

    You probably should have asked this questions in the "Biology" section of the forums since they tend to know a bit more about animals than us physics lovers.
  5. Jun 7, 2004 #4
    If we're talking about speed of thought, then yes, experiments will one day be able to determine this. But if we're talking about conscious experience, which is purely subjective, then there is no way of knowing - after all, we don't even know whether two different humans experience time at the same rate, let alone knowing where a fly's experience of time lies in relation to this.
  6. Jun 7, 2004 #5
    cool question, i think that the fly will see a simliar rate! but respond it more faster

    how faster, i dunoo, and beacuse fly do fly very fast and they see thing 360 degree it does appear fly moves a lot faster.
  7. Jun 7, 2004 #6
    i guess that we all see things pretty much the same espically in shape.

    but our respond and understanding will be different
  8. Jun 7, 2004 #7
    There was a very interesting article in new scientist (1st May) which was almost like the question you are asking. It mentioned one frog in the amazon rainforest that experienced time with a one second delay or along those lines. It would leap to catch a fly but by that time the fly was always gone. It went on to explain how our view of time might be as bizzare as the frogs to an alien species. So it is possible (but unlikely)that the fly experiences time differently from us.
  9. Jun 7, 2004 #8
    It sounds like the frog simply has slow reflexes.
  10. Jun 7, 2004 #9
    I think it was more along the lines of a fly landing in front of a frog, pause, the fly flies away, ... the frog jumps
  11. Jun 8, 2004 #10
    But isn't this exactly what we mean by slow reflexes? If not, what's the difference, and how could we tell which one of the two affects the frog?
  12. Jun 8, 2004 #11
    This has nothing to do with physics but the nervous system of a brain of a fly probably runs at a different rate than a human rate. So it would have more of less updates per second.

    Other animals experience reality totally different as we do. I always imagine how one of my friends see the world. I know that what we see is not that what we see but that wat we think we see. The brain makes up about 90% of what we see based on the data it gets from the eye. So about 10% of the raw data the brain gets from the eye is actually the picture we have in our mind. The other 90% is filled in from memory.

    So other people may see alot of things a little bit different, having no real effect but if I would see like someone else for a few seconds it would be really strange.

    But there is no real way of knowing these things. Same with time for the fly. The fly probably doesn't have a very good memory anyway.
  13. Jun 8, 2004 #12


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    Wow, okay, looks like this thread got bounced over to us biologists, though as I read the first post, my immediate thought was it should be over in physics...sounds like a relativity type question. LOL! Talk about getting the run around!

    I don't really know how flies perceive things, but their brain is very rudimentary, even though it technically qualifies as being called a brain. We can actually count the number of cells in a fly brain and they are always in exactly the same place, so I doubt there is any sort of memory formation...that would require more plasticity of connections. They keep time, also pretty close to a 24 hour day like pretty much all organisms, entrained by light cycles, so I don't think time goes any slower for them...but no way to ask them.
  14. Jun 9, 2004 #13


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    I tend to agree. A fly has faster reflexes simply because its nerves are shorter. But that doesn't necessarily imply anything about the perception of time.
  15. Jun 13, 2004 #14
    Cod said, "There is no experiment that you can perform to figure out your questions; however, as AI advances, one day we will be able to perform such experiments."

    I kind of doubt that! It seems to me experiments of that kind will fall victim to catch-22. An artificial system complex enough to simulate how we "perceive" the passage of time, will be too complex for us to understand.
  16. Jun 25, 2004 #15


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    It certainly is an interesting question.

    I'd be surprised if all species could process information at the exact same rate, but I'm not sure how that would relate to perception of time. 24 frames per second in a movie reel looks like fluid motion to us, but perhaps a fly can detect the jumps from frame to frame.

    Or perhaps time perception is equal and the fly's brain is simply hard wired to instantly flee from anything that approaches it (it's not seeing you move in slow motion, but is instead constantly ready to spring away).
  17. Jul 10, 2004 #16
    First you must know comparative resolution of the human to fly conscious frame is. Then, you must know how fast these frames move.

    Somewhere there, you might have a working line to begin to guess.
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