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Speed of thought ?!





yagnyavalkya
Have you ever thought about the speed of thought
I think it is limitless
there is no upper limit for the speed of thought
what you guys think
I have hypothesis called the branion hypothesis
which says that brain emits rays that has dual nature called branion and brain waves
they are massless and have the speed of thought
rvbarreto
I don't really know but, I believe that toughts are transmited by eletrical pulses inside ours brains, form neuronion to neuronion. So, what happened is just that we thought as fast as an electron can move. Or in other words, the limit is the speed of light, but the true speed is slower because of the enviroment inside the brain and the many connections a thought has to make part.

That is just what I thought... what I know is that the speed of light is the limit. Is the form that you convert all mass in energy. Can't be faster. You can see that better by studing fundaments of physic. There is a good book I can't remember the name, but it has been wrote by Hallyday and Resnick.

Maybe people think that a thought is faster than light... but the speed of light is really really fast. near to 300000km/s.
Indi
Brainions. ^_^; Nice.

The speed of thought - assuming it's biologically based - would be significantly smaller than the speed of light. Remember, the brain is not electrical, it is electrochemical. The chemical part will be the limiting factor.

This is a very simple schematic of two connected neurons:
O------------{O-------------{

A "thought" signal will travel from the head (the "O") down the axon (the "---") to the terminal (the "{") at roughly the speed of light, because it is an electric signal (roughly). But once the signal gets to the terminal, the terminal releases neurotransmitters which then have to travel to the dendrite at head of the next neuron. That will happen waaaay slower than c.

Not only that, but neurons have a limited rate of fire. Once a neuron fires, it cannot fire again for a couple milliseconds. Milliseconds sounds fast, but it's actually really, really slow. Consider that modern computers have CPUs that calculate in the gigahertz range, which is on the order of fractions of a nanosecond. The only reason the brain appears so fast is:

  1. It is massively parallelized. Our desktops have only had multiple processors (or multiple pipes) for a couple of years, and they can only really do a couple of simultaneous calculations. Our brains can do millions - each one dead slow, but combined they appear really fast.
    (Here's an interesting thing to note. Our computers are becoming more and more like our brains in that they are becoming more and more parallelized. A modern computer may have separate processors devoted to graphics - the GPU on your graphics card - sound - on a dedicated sound card that calculates 3D environmental effects - and general calculations - the CPU itself. That is analogous to our brain having neurons specialized to handle sight, sound and general thought.)

  2. It cheats. A lot of the time the brain isn't doing nearly as much work as we think it is.
yagnyavalkya
Just consider this
I can think of Andromeda in no time
That is what I mean by speed of thought
There is now limit
Gagnar The Unruly
Indi wrote:
A "thought" signal will travel from the head (the "O") down the axon (the "---") to the terminal (the "{") at roughly the speed of light, because it is an electric signal (roughly). But once the signal gets to the terminal, the terminal releases neurotransmitters which then have to travel to the dendrite at head of the next neuron. That will happen waaaay slower than c.


Since the action potential that shoots down the axon relies a lot on the movements of solutes across the cell membrane, it's still considerably slower than the speed of light. It's actually about 10-100 m/s (20-200 miles per hour, for those who don't speak si).
yagnyavalkya
I am not talking about the speed of nervous impulse
that is actually the speed of sensation
I am talking about the speed of thought
WHEN YOU THINK OF A PLACE YOU ARE THERE
get it
When I think of NY city now from where I am my thoughts are there
There is no limit for the speed of thought
Are you all getting it now
How long in time would I need to think of a place in a distant galaxy
In fact the speed of thought does not even need to know the place
Crazy eh?
Gagnar The Unruly
Regardless of where you think your thoughts are, they are in your head, and that is where they stay.

The speed of light is the information speed limit in the universe. If your thinking of New York had some effect on New York, the maximum 'speed' that effect could travel would be the speed of light. But your thoughts don't affect New York. In fact, they never leave your brain. Inside your brain, the impulses that make up your thoughts travel at about 100 mph.
yagnyavalkya
travel does not mean that you are in the destination in all three coordinates
you can go to a place without physically being there
that is where the time space wrap comes into place
actually everything as you said resides in the brain itself
one more thing being in NY physically does not necessarily mean that I make an effect on NY
Dbarkol
This is a very interesting topic, Laughing but I think the speed of thought exists equally just like existence of the speed of light, the speed of thought has a upper limit too, so, I believe, With the
development at full speed of science and technology , it is sure to be verified by science. Wink
bukaida
In the hindu epic Mahabharata, the eldest brother of Pandav family, Judhistir once had to face the god of death to bring life to his four brothers who were laying dead. He had to answer five questions of the god of death correctly. One of the questions was "Who is the Fastest of all?" which was answered correctly as "The thought of human is the fastest". This epic was written around 4000-5000 BC. So you got the support of your statement for nearly 7000 years. Very Happy

EDIT:
Although the other four answers were phylosophical but just for information--

Who is the lightest? Human Mind
Who is the furiest? Anger
Who is the heaviest? Sin
Who is the darkest? Shame
nilsmo
When you think of something (or have a sensation, if you word it that way) it may seem instantaneous ("i can think of the letter A instantly") however it is definitely not. It is sufficiently fast for you not to notice the time delay, though, making you think the speed is "limitless."
czc587
I often thought of this ( yea I must be weird). One thought I have ( and I hope this does take this off topic) about brain speed is ... Have you ever noticed that if you listen to a song on the radio and if you've never heard it before, your brain is quick enough that you can hum the song, but you cannot sing the song ? Try it.
simplyw00x
Quote:
Hey, uh, guys... when something makes a sound I can hear it like... INSTANTLY! Is there like, no speed of sound?

Quote:
When I switch on this light, the light goes on INSTANTLY! So there's no speed of light and no speed of electricity either, right?


That's essentially what you're saying. Also your 'I can think of Andromeda in no time' argument is a crock of shit. You can't combine everyday idioms with actual science and expect to come up with something meaningful. When people say you can go somewhere when you think about it they're being figurative.
chasbeen
As someone said earlier thought signals will travel from the head down to the brains equivalent of a decoder found in computer terminal . I agree with that as an electric signal we can conclude this.
Its argued that once the signal gets to the terminal (or decoder), the terminal releases "neurotransmitters which then have to travel to the dendrite at head of the next neuron". This is assumed to be slow because it is not an electrical signal travelling at near light speed but I think this is a larger assumption. The focus is on the brains physical appearance and not the actual potential logical performance.

As the signals all have to reach a certain point after travelling through a varying number of terminals(or decoders), then it is likely that these terminals take no measurable time to be traversed. Crying or Very sad
Gagnar The Unruly
chasbeen wrote:
As someone said earlier thought signals will travel from the head down to the brains equivalent of a decoder found in computer terminal . I agree with that as an electric signal we can conclude this.
Its argued that once the signal gets to the terminal (or decoder), the terminal releases "neurotransmitters which then have to travel to the dendrite at head of the next neuron". This is assumed to be slow because it is not an electrical signal travelling at near light speed but I think this is a larger assumption. The focus is on the brains physical appearance and not the actual potential logical performance.

As the signals all have to reach a certain point after travelling through a varying number of terminals(or decoders), then it is likely that these terminals take no measurable time to be traversed. Crying or Very sad


Both the movement of a signal down the nerve and the communication between two nerve cells at a synapse involve the movement of chemicals in physical space, and neither happens at anywhere near light speed.

When the signal travels down the nerve cell, it is produced by positively charged ions rushing into the cell. This results in the electrical potential across the membrane of the cell changing (as charges build up on one side of the membrane. Note that this flow is perpendicular to the direction of the signal. The charge is sensed by a protein nearby that opens up and allows more ions to rush in. A protein next to that senses the charge difference, and opens up, etc. etc. Movement of chemicals has to happen for the potential to be created. The path of a signal down a nerve has very little in common with the current flowing through a wire, contrary to popular imaginings.

When the signal is transferred from one nerve cell to another, via the synapse, a special channel opens (it senses the voltage change caused by the signal), letting calcium into the synapse. The calcium triggers the release of neurotransmitters, which are physically released from the synapse (they sit in compartments at the edge of the synapse, waiting to be released). They then traverse the synapse and travel to the next cell. When they travel the short distance to the neighbor nerve cell, they bind to receptors, which either allow ions into the cell (causing a signal to start in the second cell) or allow ions of the opposite charge in (making it harder for the cell to be stimulated).

Neither process happens at remotely light speed. The fastest signals are transmitted at 100-200 mph, and they slow down every time they hit a synapse. That's why it takes about 3/10ths of a second for us all to process visual information and turn it into a muscle response.
chasbeen
Thanks for all the information on "observation and r&d". I think muscle response is out of scope for this discussion Wink
zjosie729
I think speed of thought is slower than the speed of light because it feels like it takes quite some time to process our thoughts.
Gagnar The Unruly
It seems that nobody is actually reading anything. Nerve impulses travel at ~100 mph. That's significantly less than the speed of light. It's a fact. Not really subject to opinion.
yagnyavalkya
You sound true to your name
We are not talking about any biological phenomenon
here
it is the metaphysical phenomenon under discussion\
nobody refutes proven biology
Indi
yagnyavalkya wrote:
You sound true to your name
We are not talking about any biological phenomenon
here
it is the metaphysical phenomenon under discussion\
nobody refutes proven biology

Biology is science.

Metaphysics is philosophy.

This forum is called "Science and Nature". There is a separate forum elsewhere called "Philosophy and Religion"... which is not this forum.

So, from the top, what are we talking about again?

(If you wanted a metaphysical discussion about thought, you should have asked your question in the philosophy forum.)
rvec
please use quote tags when quoting. And even if philosophy was a science you should've asked it in the philosophy forum.

This topic can stay open if you continue about the speed of thought. Although the answer is already given I'll keep it open unless the posts are about philosophy again.

you can ofcourse start a thread about "is philosophy science?" (could be in science or philosophy forum Wink ) but that's up to you.
yagnyavalkya
"
Like Indi stated, the scientific and natural answer to your question is 'c. 100mph'. Areas of study don't get to define themselves as science, they need peer acceptance from other scientists and that is something armchair philosophers don't have."
100mph is not the scientific answer anyway it may be natural
thanks



Every one has a right to have an opinion
An open mind is the key to human evolution
Thanks all
As I have started the thread
I think I am not going to go in here any more
Tumbleweed
Gagnar The Unruly wrote:
It seems that nobody is actually reading anything. Nerve impulses travel at ~100 mph. That's significantly less than the speed of light. It's a fact. Not really subject to opinion.


How is this worked out ? , do they chase a thought around a brain with a microscope or other equiptment ? , do they say push this button when you see the light and measure your reaction time ?.
I thought they measured brain activity in hertz, I remember likening a brain to a radio that plays 5 channels at once, is this measured and converted to mph ?.
Gagnar The Unruly
Tumbleweed wrote:
Gagnar The Unruly wrote:
It seems that nobody is actually reading anything. Nerve impulses travel at ~100 mph. That's significantly less than the speed of light. It's a fact. Not really subject to opinion.


How is this worked out ? , do they chase a thought around a brain with a microscope or other equiptment ? , do they say push this button when you see the light and measure your reaction time ?.
I thought they measured brain activity in hertz, I remember likening a brain to a radio that plays 5 channels at once, is this measured and converted to mph ?.


I'll get back to you on the details. I know they can isolate nerve cells and synapses and measure signal transduction velocity that way. I have a feeling it's pretty simple. You can run electrodes into cell bodies and measure membrane potential. You could just have a precisely timed instrument keeping track of the membrane potential at both ends of the cell. Stimulating cells is easy because they are voltage-sensitive.
Indi
i would like to know the answer, too. i had always assumed that - just as with conduction in a wire - the signal travels at c, while the carriers travel much slower. When you plug a light into the wall, the signal travels along the wire to the light almost instantaneously... but an electron at the wall will take all day to get from the wall to the bulb. Similarly, i had always assumed that the signal went from head to tail almost instantaneously, then the charge carriers (the ions) diffused much more slowly to dull out that potential spike over the course of the refractory period.
nisibdv
I think that the speed of thoughts has to be limited by the velocity of electric signals between neurons. To think faster than that would be a contradiction. It would mean that you are not thinking with your brain but with something else.
Gagnar The Unruly
For the geeks:

The speed of nerve signal propagation was first measured by inserting a glass electrode through the axon. Then, the axon was stimulated on one end and the time for the signal to reach the end of the electrode was recorded. The first (Nobel Prize-winning) studies were done on 'giant' axons in Atlantic squid. Those axons are roughly 1 mm in diameter (larger diameter = faster signal propagation).

How an action potential works:

First thing to know -- there is an electric potential across all cell membranes as a result of uneven charge distribution and uneven movement of ions across the membrane. In the case of a neuron, intracellular K+ concentrations are very high (~150 mM) and Na+ concentrations low (~5 mM). On the outside of the cell, [K+] is low (~5 mM) and [Na+] is high (~150 mM). These concentration gradients are maintained by proteins that simultaneously pump Na+ and K+ across the membrane.

Under normal conditions, Na+ has trouble making it across the membrane unassisted, but a very small amount of K+ do get through. This causes a current across the membrane due to the uneven movement of K+ out, and also results in an accumulation of + charge on the outside of the membrane (extracellular surface). For this and other reasons, the cell has a membrane potential of about -70 mV (negative by convention).

When a nerve signal begins, the membrane of the axon hillock is depolarized by the influx of Na+ (or Ca++). As the Na rushes in, along both the chemical and electrical gradient (the potential is -70 mV, encouraging entry of positive species), positive charges accumulate on the intracellular surface of the membrane in the axon hillock. The membrane potential rises to -40 mV and beyond.

When the membrane potential of the hillock hits -40 mV, voltage-gated ion channels open that allow free diffusion of Na+. Naturally, the Na+ rush in through the newly-opened channels, intensifying the depolarization of the membrane.

The axon hillock is immediately adjacent to the beginning of the axon proper. The influx of sodium ions into the axon hillock causes a wave of positively charged ions (mostly K+) to retreat from the Na+ channels, because of the sudden dominance of positive charge there. The action is similar to Newton's pendulum, where individual atoms move little but the displacement moves rapidly through the medium. As the wave of positive charge retreats down the axon, they encounter more voltage-gated channels, which open in response to the change in membrane polarity. That lets more Na+ in, causing the depolarization to spread. In this way the signal propagates from channel to channel down the membrane.

So, the rate-limiting steps are the movement of sodium ions across the membrane, and the movement of the wave of potassium ions through the intracellular fluid.

The speed of transmission increases with axon diameter, because there is less resistance to the movement of potassium ions along the axon. Also, the surface area:volume ratio is lower. The membrane has capacitance for the signal, because it leaks potassium ions. This causes the signal to fall off as it travels. Less surface area means less capacitance. Another way of reducing capacitance is to coat the axon in myelin, a fatty substance that is impermeable to potassium ions. Myelinated axons are ~ 15-20x faster than unmyelinated axons.

Propagation speeds in most unmyelinated axons are 1-10 m/s, myelinated axons are much faster. The fastest axons charge along with 100 m/s propagation speeds.
Tumbleweed
Thanks Gangar Very Happy

I am now wondering if this "domino effect" is subject to acceleration/deceleration, I wonder what the speed is of my introspection.
Kestrad
In Norse Mythology, Thought is believed to be the fastest thing in existence. One of the legends recounts how Thor went to challenge the giants. His servant, Thialfi, offered to run a race against a giant. The giant ran much faster than Thialfi did. Thor and Loki were beaten by the giants in every one of their challenges as well. In the end, the king of giants revealed that he had deceived the gods, and among the tricks he had played was the fact that Thialfi had run against Thought, which is the quickest thing of all.
nickm
It can only go as fast as electrons can carry over synapses in your brain, which is still a lot slower than the speed of light when you factor in friction and everything.
Gagnar The Unruly
nickm wrote:
It can only go as fast as electrons can carry over synapses in your brain, which is still a lot slower than the speed of light when you factor in friction and everything.


Apparently you haven't ready any of my posts.
yagnyavalkya
Actually I started the topic with the idea of thought transfer from one being to another in mind I was not thinking about the speed of thought within the same being
Actually have you any ideas how thought travels without a medium from one being to another without expression of language
newolder
Hiya,

The world of 'ideas' is independent of the chemical scum that makes the discovery.
LumberJack
We don't think at the speed of light, we think at the speed of electric impulses, interactions of neuro-chemicals, etc. It isn't that fast when you consider the extremely small distances these impulses and chemicals must travel. Where do you people come from Smile
simplyw00x
Gagnar The Unruly: Does this method of ion propagation inside the axon bear any similarity to the chemical transfer process from one neuron to another --- i.e., is this speed of 100ms-1 only for intra-axon transmission or is this the overall speed for nerve impulses?

LumberJack, nickm: Read the thread before you post

Also, Indi, electric signals don't travel at anything close to the speed of light. Electrons themselves travel at a few cms-1 in an electric circuit (drift velocity) and electrical impulses, although faster, are by no means instant.

yagnyavalkya: It's difficult to follow what you're actually asking --- you started off with some form of astral projection (wtf is this doing in science, with a pseudoscientific babble about the speed of light attached, I'll never know) and are now talking about the 'speed of thought transfer'. Well, seeing as you can't transfer a thought, that'd be 0. Next?
Bikerman
Reminds me of the concept of 'The Speed of Monarchy' as elucidated by Terry Pratchett;
Quote:
The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.
Gagnar The Unruly
simplyw00x wrote:
Gagnar The Unruly: Does this method of ion propagation inside the axon bear any similarity to the chemical transfer process from one neuron to another --- i.e., is this speed of 100ms-1 only for intra-axon transmission or is this the overall speed for nerve impulses?


The processes of signal propagation along an axon and of cell-to-cell communication across synapses are different but rely on a common phenomenon: the movement of ions across space. The major difference is that the propagation signal travels as a compression wave, and the synapse signal travels by bulk flow of neurotransmitters.

You could consider the differences in exactly the same way that you consider movement of particles in any other fluid. A good example is air (or the ocean). In the air (and ocean), sounds travel as compression waves. If a compression wave travels to the right, the molecules 'in the wave' travel to the right, until they hit more molecules. They slow down and impart their momentum on the molecules they run into. The sound wave moves to the right faster than any one molecule does, but the propagation of the wave relies on physical movement of the molecules through space, in the proper direction. In air, sound travels at about 770 mph, and the speed limit has a lot to do with how fast the air molecules can actually move. The speed of sound can never be faster than the average speed of the molecules in the medium.

This is exactly the same phenomenon as the movement of K+ (and Na+) ions in an axon. There is a compression wave that travels down the axon exactly like a sound wave. If our nerve cells detected the wave by measuring the concentration of K+ ions, the wave would get detected. However, because these ions are both positively charged, the wave is also detectable by measuring the potential produced by the concentration of charge. Since our nerve cells rely on detecting this voltage potential, we tend to think of this as an electrical process. Indeed, it is similar to the process of current flow along a copper wire, but the moving species are heavy, slow ions as opposed to incredibly speedy electrons. Of course, this process could be much faster than it is, because signal propagation in the axon also relies on movement of ions across the cell membrane of the axon. This slows signal movement from the speed of sound to the 1-100 m/s commonly observed.

So, the speeds given are just the speed of signal propagation down the axon. A major rate-limiting step is neurotransmitter movement. This is a process of bulk flow. Wind is an example of bulk flow. Large groups of molecules can move in concert in fluids, but at a relatively low rate of speed compared to the speed of sound of the medium. In air, wind rarely exceeds 45 mph and never goes beyond 150 mph or so, though the speed of sound is 770 mph. In synapses, the signal relies on bulk flow of neurotransmitters from one side of the synapse to the other. Though the distances are short, the process is slow.

That's only part of the picture. To actually get a neurotransmitter across a synapse requires:

1) An electrical signal (in the form of a K+ compression wave) reaches the synaptic end of neuron 1 -- compression wave traveling 1-100 m/s

2) The voltage difference stimulates the opening of Ca2+ channels -- a fast process requiring conformational change of the channel proteins

3) Movement of Ca2+ into the cytoplasm of neuron 1 -- bulk flow by diffusion (the slowest kind)

4) Ca2+ activates a protein kinase

5) The kinase has to simultaneously encounter an inorganic phosphate and a tethering protein that holds a membrane sac (containing neurotransmitters) right next to the synapse membrane

6) Together with the inorganic phosphate, the kinase destroys the tether, allowing the sac to open into the synapse

7) Neurotransmitters exit the synapse and diffuse across the synapse -- bulk flow

Cool The neurotransmitters interact with receptors on the other end of the synapse (neuron 2), either stimulating entry of Ca2+ or Na+ into the cell -- by bulk flow

9) Ca2+ inhibits further signal activity, and Na+ causes a signal transduction cascade -- the compression wave thing at step 1

So the compression wave is sort of fast, sometimes, and everything else slows it down even more. That's why we all live on a half-second delay. For a signal to go from eye to brain, around the brain, and to the right foot takes about .45 seconds, even though it only has to travel 6 feet or so (a leisurely 9 mph!).
simplyw00x
Quote:
and the speed limit has a lot to do with how fast the air molecules can actually move. The speed of sound can never be faster than the average speed of the molecules in the medium.

I haven't done proper physics in about a year, but is the second part really true? The sound wave provides its own kinetic energy, and this independent of the average kinetic energy (temperature) of the medium.

Quote:
So the compression wave is sort of fast, sometimes, and everything else slows it down even more. That's why we all live on a half-second delay. For a signal to go from eye to brain, around the brain, and to the right foot takes about .45 seconds, even though it only has to travel 6 feet or so (a leisurely 9 mph!).

Very interesting, thanks. There was a story on /. a while ago that nerve impulses were thought to be sound rather than electricity (as is commonly understood) but I didn't really understand it at the time.
RULLYOKTO
It's still big mistery about how our brain works, It's seems hundred times more complex than the biggest computer server ever build by human.
nisibdv
Very interesting posting, but we have a problem of definition. We know what velocity is, it is the number of THINGS to happen, divided by the time it took to happen. But the THING is thought and we don{t know what thought is. So I think it is not measurable. One could argue that it is possible to mesure, for example, how long does it take to make a mathematical operation and take this as a mesure of the velocity of thought. But it wouldn't be correct to say that we are measuring something related to thought, it has more to do with a specific ability of our thought. I like the branion theory of the author of the post. The nature of thought has to do with overlapping processes, I suposse very unlocalized ones. It is false for expmple to try to localize the thought in a region of the brain, (I supose of the body too). It is a very non-local process and in a second the brain can invent the theory of relativity, how could you measure that?
Bikerman
Ermm...on definitions - Velocity is distance travelled in a particular direction divided by time taken. In other words it is simply a measure of speed in given direction.
yagnyavalkya
nisibdv wrote:
Very interesting posting, but we have a problem of definition. We know what velocity is, it is the number of THINGS to happen, divided by the time it took to happen. But the THING is thought and we don{t know what thought is. So I think it is not measurable. One could argue that it is possible to mesure, for example, how long does it take to make a mathematical operation and take this as a mesure of the velocity of thought. But it wouldn't be correct to say that we are measuring something related to thought, it has more to do with a specific ability of our thought. I like the branion theory of the author of the post. The nature of thought has to do with overlapping processes, I suposse very unlocalized ones. It is false for expmple to try to localize the thought in a region of the brain, (I supose of the body too). It is a very non-local process and in a second the brain can invent the theory of relativity, how could you measure that?

Thanks nisbdv
it is actually brainion and not branion it was a spelling mistake in the first post
Glad that some one here is seeing my view point " nature of thought has to do with overlapping processes"
nepheus
Speed of thought? I know that we need 0,001s to ping and pong... And when we close our eyes, it takes about 0,06s to hide the previous image.
yagnyavalkya
Bikerman wrote:
Ermm...on definitions - Velocity is distance travelled in a particular direction divided by time taken. In other words it is simply a measure of speed in given direction.

Good one Biky
What about multi directional speed
The same entity travels in different directions at the same time ( kinda of funny to think [ oh thought again] Guess what I mean we can think of several things at the same time)
my idea of thought is something like that
What daU sa?
Bikerman
yagnyavalkya wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Ermm...on definitions - Velocity is distance travelled in a particular direction divided by time taken. In other words it is simply a measure of speed in given direction.

Good one Biky
What about multi directional speed
The word 'velocity' then no longer applies.
Quote:
The same entity travels in different directions at the same time ( kinda of funny to think [ oh thought again] Guess what I mean we can think of several things at the same time)
my idea of thought is something like that
What daU sa?
I'm not sure what you mean. The same 'entity' does not travel in different directions at the same time, unless you are talking about quantum physics and particle wavefuntions - in which case I would still dispute the term.
What you are talking about is parallel processing, I think, which is an entirely different matter.
newolder
Bikerman wrote:
yagnyavalkya wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Ermm...on definitions - Velocity is distance travelled in a particular direction divided by time taken. In other words it is simply a measure of speed in given direction.

Good one Biky
What about multi directional speed
The word 'velocity' then no longer applies.


Correct. The term is now 'bi-vector' (10 000 + google hits). 1st-hitgoogle =>
Quote:

A bivector is a two-dimensional analog to a one-dimensional vector. Whereas a vector is often utilized to represent a one-dimensional directed quantity (often visualized geometrically as a directed line-segment), a bivector is used to represent a two-dimensional directed quantity (often visualized as an oriented plane-segment).

Since a bivector is a two-dimensional entity, it can be built up from two linearly independent vectors, and by means of the exterior product.


The vectors and span the subspace represented by the bivector . Typically the orientation of the bivector is established by placing the two vectors tail-to-tail and sweeping from the first vector to the second. In this way, an oppositely oriented bivector may be obtained by reversing the order of the vectors in the exterior product.


source: http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/Bivector.html


Collections of these in Clifford-bundles in close proximity to real, E8s are helpful too. Very Happy
whitehole
There's a physical limit to the speed of thought. I think it's .0004 seconds or something tiny like that. I learned about it when reading a book on Buddhism and I didn't know one of the words so I looked it up and it was a dictionary definition describing the speed of thought as a number.
Bikerman
A book on Buddhism gave you the speed of thought? Hmm...
All I can say is that the figure you give is *way* off the money.
Current research tends to put the figure at around .3 seconds. By that I mean the amount of time to 'recognise' an object presented visually. There is a further lag before the object is oriented properly and 'understood' in context - that is somewhere between .25 and .5 seconds.

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/19980428032910data_trunc_sys.shtml
Gagnar The Unruly
The rule of thumb in bracket racing is that the human response time (vision-to-foot twitch) is 0.45 sec. People who respond faster than that to the 'go' light are disqualified with a false start. It is also well known that a few people (particularly drag racers) are actually a bit faster, and so train themselves to hesitate ever so slightly. Of course, modern drag racing may has less to do with reflexes than anticipation and timing.
Bikerman
That would seem to fit in nicely with the results I gave above.
Tumbleweed
Gagnar The Unruly wrote:
The rule of thumb in bracket racing is that the human response time (vision-to-foot twitch) is 0.45 sec. People who respond faster than that to the 'go' light are disqualified with a false start. It is also well known that a few people (particularly drag racers) are actually a bit faster, and so train themselves to hesitate ever so slightly. Of course, modern drag racing may has less to do with reflexes than anticipation and timing.


Would that not indicate a speed of reaction rather than thought, of course thought is a major part of reaction, but I wonder about the speed of a daydream, if it takes 0.45 sec to react to a stimulus what was the speed of the brain before the stimulus , does the brain have a "resting speed" ? and if so how is it measured.
Gagnar The Unruly
Bikerman wrote:
That would seem to fit in nicely with the results I gave above.


Particularly when you consider that in drag racing there may be some drivetrain lag and time taken to load up the tires and suspension, plus a several foot roll-out. The 0.3 sec. figure seems reasonable to me. It also fits with the calculations I gave above.
xbcd
you have to watch the show "The Human Body: Pushing the limits" on Discovery. It is on Sunday for at 9-11 p.m. for the next few weeks. It can help u see how things like this happen. I think the brain segment is at 9 this sunday
yagnyavalkya
THought is speed less
Gagnar The Unruly
Actually, the speed of thought is between 1-100 m/s.
correlationist
One of the most intriguing threads I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank you, especially Indi, & and Gagnar The Unruly, and of course yagnvavalkva.


yagnyavalkya wrote:
THought is speed less


I disagree with you. Speed is a scientifically measurable metric. So, you can say you do not know the speed of thought.

Gagnar The Unruly wrote:
Actually, the speed of thought is between 1-100 m/s.


I disagree with you. The speed that you mention is based on the time taken for a thought to produce a physical displacement or manifestation (limited by the chemical part of the electrochemical process), not the speed of thought itself.

You guys are awesome though!! So glad I stumbled upon this thread.

Cheers,
Prince
_AVG_
Just bringing another question to this stimulating discussion ...

Is the so called "speed of thought" different for different people? I mean, even biologically, is it possible that some people think "faster" than others i.e. their nerve impulses take less time to transfer than others? And would this justify why we call people who aren't that brainy "slow"?

I mean, there are some who can compute mathematical problems, calculations, tasks etc. faster than others ... would that have anything to do with "thought speed"?
Bikerman
It may be, but I doubt it is significantly different. The composition of nerves is unlikely to be radically different. I think the differences you allude to are more likely to be 'wiring' differences in the brain which mean that impulses follow different routes - possibly longer.
A much more interesting question (to me, anyway) is how this relates to consciousness and the notion of freewill.
There are a set of famous experiments by a chap called Libet that would seem to show that the notion of free-will is an illusion.
Basically the experiment involves wiring a subject up and monitoring them as they make decisions. For example, you could ask the subject to press the red button or the green button. The test shows that the subject is already in the act of pressing the 'chosen' button BEFORE they are aware of making the choice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet
http://www.consciousentities.com/experiments.htm

This poses some very deep and quite troubling questions about the nature (and existence?) of free-will and consciousness.
5aia
I think that the speed of thought is equal the speed of light because in the brain the information flows through electric conductors. The problem is to have good ideas Smile not to transport them!
Bikerman
5aia wrote:
I think that the speed of thought is equal the speed of light because in the brain the information flows through electric conductors. The problem is to have good ideas Smile not to transport them!
No, it is electro-chemical. Electricity flows down the nerve cells, but then it reaches a junction (synaptic gap) when it is transported chemically across until it gets to the other synapse when it carries on electrically. Consequently thought is HUGELY slower than the speed of light. Not even electricity goes as the speed of light - electrons have mass remember.....typically it will be somewhere between about 0.5 and 0.95% the speed of light (depending on the wire conductor).
cbard
Have you ever wonder how fast you are going?
Well here's the real speed poop...

Here is a summary of all the "goings on":

Earth Rotates around 1000 mph at the Equator.
Earth orbits the Sun at around 67,000 mph (66,629).
Sun and planets orbit the Galaxy at 447,000 mph.

The combined movement of all of that is about 1,342,000 mph.

Isn't that cool and unbelievably fast? (I hope we don't hit anything.)


In comparison:
A commercial Jetliner travels at about 500 mph.
The speed of sound is about 768 mph.
A bullet has a speed as high as about 2000 mph, depending on the caliber, etc.
A fighter jet travels at about 2200 mph.
A missile has a speed as fast as 7,500 mph.
The Space Shuttle has a speed of about 18,000 mph.
The fastest speed of a man-made object is approximately 70,220 mph. (Solar probe Helios 2.)
Your total (earth ship) speed is over One Million Miles Per Hour!

Assuming they could be focused and projected outward like radio waves, and ignoring the bio-chemical part of the thought process, which is much slower, the mile-per-hour speed of thought waves or "consciousness" energy is about 670 Million mph!


If that's not enough "movement" for you... if you're a glutton for punishment and want more... get the "full" story here:

http://calgary.rasc.ca/howfast.htm#revolve


Curtis Bard
One World, One Family

www.Surf.To/BARD
www.Facebook.com/cbard
------------------------------
Bikerman
You missed the most important part of the article - what are you measuring your speed with regard to?
toasterintheoven
that would explain cases of people with multiple sclerosis, demyelinization destroys much of their myelin
Bigdee
I "THINK" I HAVE IT !!!
The speed of thought HAS to be faster that the speed of light, because you can dream for 10mins - but the events in that dream actually can take a great deal longer !!!
Now you may say that that is a mental illusion BUT that only proves my point , beacuse you still have to THINK through any events in your drean.
Can anyone dispute this theory ???
kelseymh
Bigdee wrote:
I "THINK" I HAVE IT !!!
The speed of thought HAS to be faster that the speed of light, because you can dream for 10mins - but the events in that dream actually can take a great deal longer !!!
Now you may say that that is a mental illusion BUT that only proves my point , beacuse you still have to THINK through any events in your drean.
Can anyone dispute this theory ???


Easy. There are no events in dreams, only perceptions. Your conscious mind is being fed signals generated internally by your brain's automatic processing systems (in particular, the hippocampal and related memory storage and associators).

Your mind is set up to expect, and even to create, a continuous narrative from episodic inputs; it does that in real life, and does so with dreams as well. The apparent "duration" of the mentally constructed narrative of a dream doesn't have to have any relationship to the actual physical duration of the brain signals which generated that dream.
Bigdee
You just proved my point - "The mind creates a narrative "

what does that imply? - a story to be told and how do you tell a story ?- over a period of time ?

then how do you tell a long story in a shot period of time ?
kelseymh
Bigdee wrote:
You just proved my point - "The mind creates a narrative "

what does that imply? - a story to be told and how do you tell a story ?- over a period of time ?

then how do you tell a long story in a shot period of time ?


You aren't "being told the story" in real time. Your brain gets a collection of signals, and reconstructs a narrative to link them after the fact, assuming you "remember" the dream.
loremar
The human brain is sub-optimal.
I think we should upgrade it to something more like electronic to improve our speed of thought.
Use metallic conduction instead of electrolytic conduction.
But that would mean we have to change the entire makeup of our nervous system. Eh?

Just saying. Very Happy
kelseymh
loremar wrote:
The human brain is sub-optimal.


Sub-optimal compared to what? Please cite your sources.

Quote:
I think we should upgrade it to something more like electronic to improve our speed of thought. Use metallic conduction instead of electrolytic conduction. But that would mean we have to change the entire makeup of our nervous system.


How would you propose to power an electronic nervous system? Right now, neurons function in exactly the same way as every other cell in the body functions: they inspire oxygen and glucose, extract energy using the ATP cycle, and expire carbon dioxide.

How you you have electronics interconnect to the functional systems (e.g., muscles) to which neurons interconnect now? To exchange signals, they use the same small molecules that other cells use, including charged ions, which enter and exit through the same kind membrane channels used in every other cell.

How would you have an electronic nervous system grow in a body? The formation and growth of neurons are controlled by the same pathways as used by every other cell.
loremar
kelseymh wrote:
loremar wrote:
The human brain is sub-optimal.


Sub-optimal compared to what? Please cite your sources.

Quote:
I think we should upgrade it to something more like electronic to improve our speed of thought. Use metallic conduction instead of electrolytic conduction. But that would mean we have to change the entire makeup of our nervous system.


How would you propose to power an electronic nervous system? Right now, neurons function in exactly the same way as every other cell in the body functions: they inspire oxygen and glucose, extract energy using the ATP cycle, and expire carbon dioxide.

How you you have electronics interconnect to the functional systems (e.g., muscles) to which neurons interconnect now? To exchange signals, they use the same small molecules that other cells use, including charged ions, which enter and exit through the same kind membrane channels used in every other cell.

How would you have an electronic nervous system grow in a body? The formation and growth of neurons are controlled by the same pathways as used by every other cell.

I agree with you. I'm just saying that ideally if we have metallic wirings in our brains instead of organic, we would have a faster speed of thought. It is indeed impossible to propose an electronic brain be attached to a human body with the reasons that you have just said. But I am just saying that ideally an electronic brain is better than an organic one just considering the difference in their conductivities (assuming that everything else is constant).

Imagine a machine with a brain system with the same complexity as that of a human. Theoritically, the machine would be able to think faster than the human.

This thread is about the speed of thought and not whether an electronic brain can be attached to a human body. I'm just saying, which will think faster? an electronic brain or an organic brain.

kelseymh, I'm no expert in science like you. Please be considerate about my ignorance and just be happy I know something about conductivities. Smile
kelseymh
loremar wrote:
kelseymh wrote:
loremar wrote:
The human brain is sub-optimal.


Sub-optimal compared to what? Please cite your sources.

Quote:
I think we should upgrade it to something more like electronic to improve our speed of thought. Use metallic conduction instead of electrolytic conduction. But that would mean we have to change the entire makeup of our nervous system.


How would you propose to power an electronic nervous system? Right now, neurons function in exactly the same way as every other cell in the body functions: they inspire oxygen and glucose, extract energy using the ATP cycle, and expire carbon dioxide.

How you you have electronics interconnect to the functional systems (e.g., muscles) to which neurons interconnect now? To exchange signals, they use the same small molecules that other cells use, including charged ions, which enter and exit through the same kind membrane channels used in every other cell.

How would you have an electronic nervous system grow in a body? The formation and growth of neurons are controlled by the same pathways as used by every other cell.

I agree with you. I'm just saying that ideally if we have metallic wirings in our brains instead of organic, we would have a faster speed of thought.


I'm not so sure of that. You would have faster signal transmission. That also means that you would be more sensitive to differences in the path lengths of signals (for example, signals from your shoulder vs. your toes; this is why reflexes are built into the spinal cord, rather than going to the brain and back).

Does faster signal transmission really mean faster large-scale processing? Not necessarily. How many steps, and how much intercommunication is required for processing?

What about feedback loops between transducers (sensors/nerve-endings), processing, and muscles? If those loops are too fast, you can induce oscillatory instabilities.

Quote:
Imagine a machine with a brain system with the same complexity as that of a human. Theoritically, the machine would be able to think faster than the human.


I think I'd prefer a "could be able to" in that sentence. Since we haven't actually built a fully sentient machine, we don't really know. The closest we've come so far actually "thinks" at just about the same speed as humans.

Quote:
This thread is about the speed of thought and not whether an electronic brain can be attached to a human body. I'm just saying, which will think faster? an electronic brain or an organic brain.


And it is a very good question! You can pose it in different ways: your first approach, a human with "electronic nerves", is a great way to expose the underlying complications. A pure "computer vs. human" has different complications, and is also harder to address.

Quote:
kelseymh, I'm no expert in science like you. Please be considerate about my ignorance and just be happy I know something about conductivities. Smile


My apologies if I came off too harsh. I tend toward the Socratic method of discussion -- raising new questions for you to answer, rather than giving my own answers. As above, those questions aren't meant rhetorically, but rather give you new things to think about and study.

Science works best when it asks more questions than it answers.
sermonis
There was a movie about power of though it was called "The Secret" it is all about metaphisic and there they say that thoughts can even travel through the time line (in Einstein theory travelling to past could be OK if you travel faster that light- that is 299 792 458 m/s (wiki)).

In biology thought is something different it's power in locked in neuroimpulses and travels in myelin sheath in about 120m/s.'

The Secret's version sounds better but hey 120m/s is not so bad after all Wink
Bikerman
Movies are movies. Biology is not a movie. We know how fast thoughts travel and it is pretty slow.

http://discovermagazine.com/2009/dec/16-the-brain-what-is-speed-of-thought
siospawn
the speed of Light is the measurement of time between two points in space. Although thoughts have an origin they do not have a destination. Unless you are talking about the specific thoughts that control bodily functions. The the though travels to the nerves and muscles and yadda yadda, that can be measured and already has. The question i believe was meant to ask the thought of a thought. how long does it take to think of an object?. it cannot be measured because that thought does not have a destination. until the time comes (if ever) that we find out where thoughts go when your done thinking of them, we will not be able to put a measurement on them.
Bikerman
Interesting point and perfectly sensible.
What can be measured is the time between brain activity starting in areas which will precipitate an action, and the person becoming conscious of deciding to perform that action. The now infamous Libet experiments first attempted this and more recent experiments have refined the technique.
I believe the current 'record' is around 10 seconds (ie the experimenter can see the pattern of brain activity leading to an action about 10 seconds before the experimental subject becomes conscious of having decided to act).

This is, of course, a bit spooky for many people. It demonstrates that when we think we are making a choice, the choice has already been made some time before and what we are actually doing is fooling ourselves after the fact. Some argue that this is the final nail in the coffin of the notion of 'free will' and I tend to agree.
jajarvin
The speed of light is about 300,000 miles per second. Tthe speed onf my thoughts is much faster than the speed of light. In particular, when I have been drinking a few beers.
tW_Studios
Didn't hey like discover that thoughts travel as electronic signals between the neurons. Thought speed isn't limitless, it's just that the gap between the neurons in nanoscopic, so the electric signal travel really fast. My theory would be that speed of thought isn't limitless it's just very big.
fardousi
loremar wrote:
The human brain is sub-optimal.
I think we should upgrade it to something more like electronic to improve our speed of thought.
Use metallic conduction instead of electrolytic conduction.
But that would mean we have to change the entire makeup of our nervous system. Eh?

Just saying. Very Happy


I think you are going to like this book....Smile

http://klugethebook.com/
hspb
If you move the flashlight, its furthest point on the line along the line is also moving very quickly because it is not material.
Bikerman
Well, in fact nothing is moving. This is a commonly raised 'example' of something moving faster than light. Shine a laser at the moon and move it quickly across the face, the laser would seem to move at very high speed - potentially faster than c. In fact, nothing is moving faster than c, as is easily realised with a bit of thought.
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