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article imageSmaller animals see the world in slow motion

By Layne Weiss     Sep 17, 2013 in Science
Dublin - According to a new study, smaller animals such as insects and birds perceive time as if it is happening in slow motion. This allows them to quickly escape large predators.
The smaller animals can see more information in a second than a larger animal like an elephant for instance, BBC News reports.
The study found that bigger animals miss many things, which smaller animals almost immediately notice.
The findings were published in the Journal Animal Behavior.
"The ability to perceive time on very small scales may be the difference between life and death for fast-moving organisms such as predators and their prey," said lead author Kevin Healy of Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland.
The researchers studied the animals' ability to detect separate flashes of fast flickering light, The Telegraph reports.
The process is known as "critical flicker fusion flickery."
Comparing studies of this process with animals of different sizes revealed that there is a link with size and time perception.
Dr Andrew Jackson, a co-author of the study at TCD, said that many researchers have studied this in animals "by measuring their perceptions of flickering light."
"Some can perceive quite a fast flicker and others much slower, so that a flickering light looks like a blur," Jackson said.
There is also a variation in humans, BBC News reports. For instance, athletes have the ability to process visual information more quickly than others. An experienced goalkeeper is usually better than others at observing a ball might be coming from.
Age also plays a factor, says Dr. Andrew Jackson. "Younger people can react more quickly than older people and this ability falls off further with increasing age."
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