Which Nervous System is better?

A 40 minutes experiment was held, during which the probationers had to continuously perform difficult mental calculations. People with both strong and weak nervous systems took part in the experiment. People with weak nervous system were less productive by 35th minute than people of the strong type. However, probationers of the weak type showed higher general productiveness. It is explained by the fact that they had better results in the beginning of the test.

Reflexes' Speed

Speed of response to irritants of various modality varies:

  • Aural and tactile stimuli cause the fastest response - 105-180 ms
  • Reaction to visual stimuli - 150-255 ms
  • Reaction to olfactory stimulus - 200-300 ms
  • Pain and temperature reflexes - 400-1000 ms

Minimal time of healthy adult's voluntary reaction is approximately 100 ms.

Nervous system signals travel at speed of 288 kph. At the old age the speed of reaction decreases by 15%.

When Was the First Reaction Research Held?

It is assumed that serious interest in reaction speed was stirred when it was revealed that the astronomers gave different readings when marking the moment, at which the star crosses a meridian. German astronomer and mathematician F. Bessel (1784 — 1846), who discovered this phenomenon, ran an experiment in 1823. He measured a person’s speed of response to irritant and ascertained the fact of individual features of stimuli perception and speed of response.

Speed of Response and Longevity

Edinburgh University experts were observing 7.5 thousand people for 20 years and then studied the relation of their lifespan to their physical activity, harmful habits, speed of response, excess weight, and several other factors.

The most crucial point was rather unexpected. The speed of response to environment was considered for the first time. In 1980’s all volunteers were tested: they were asked to press one of the 5 buttons depending on which symbol they see on the screen. Thus, the medical experts identified average reaction time of each probationer. Since then 1289 probationers have died (568 of them had heart cases). Processed results revealed that men and women with slow reaction die for various reasons 2.6 times more often. Only smoking also proved to pose a high risk of death.

Physical exercise, blood pressure, cardiac rhythm, WHR, alcohol intake and body mass index — all these parameters had much less effect on the probationers' lifespan.

Speed of Response in Extreme Circumstances


There is documented evidence of people changing their perception of time and managing to do dozens and hundreds of times more work than people with good reaction could do in daily life! Phenomenon of time slowdown and reaction acceleration has saved lots of lives.

Your brain starts quickly racking your memory in dangerous situations in order to find an example of similar situation, which could help you cope with the danger.

In 1989 four seconds video of MiG-29 flying at minimal speed at the altitude of 92 m above the audience at Paris Air Show Le Bourget appears on TV. Aircraft’s engine fails (because of a bird), the airplane makes a dive, tilts to the right, skews away from the audience and explodes on the ground. The pilot neither had any time to avoid crashing on people’s heads nor to save his own life. Black box readings revealed that Anatoly Kvochur, the test pilot, had managed to do so many disabled aircraft operations in a second before ejection it could take several minutes to perform them in ordinary situation. It took the pilot several hours to tell about this in order to analyze his actions during the crash.

Insects' Speed of Response


Fly's reaction is 10 times as fast as human reaction. When we take a swing with our hand or newspaper and try to swat it is sees some creature slowly casting something that could be dangerous. The fly figures out that there is a threat to its life, the direction of the threat, and flies away at dozens wing beats per second. One day for a fly is almost like a month for a human bein.

Animals' Speed of Response


Tortoises live longer than people, but its reaction is 2-3 times slower than ours. For a tortoise a passing person seems to move as fast as if rushing by on a motorcycle at 50 kph. Thus, tortoises see and learn 2-3 less throughout their life than people do.