I was reading this article about the “mysteries of the brain” and decided to share one small part of it here.
Hundred-yard dashes begin with a gunshot rather than a strobe light because your brain can react more quickly to a bang than to a flash. Yet as soon as we get outside the realm of motor reactions and into the realm of perception (what you report that you saw and heard), the story changes. When it comes to awareness, the brain goes through a good deal of trouble to synchronize incoming signals that are processed at very different speeds.
For example, snap your fingers in front of you. Although your auditory system processes information about the snap about 30 milliseconds faster than your visual system, the sight of your fingers and the sound of the snap seem simultaneous. Your brain is employing fancy editing tricks to make simultaneous events in the world feel simultaneous to you, even when the different senses processing the information would individually swear otherwise.
For a simple example of how your brain plays tricks with time, look in the mirror at your left eye. Now shift your gaze to your right eye. Your eye movements take time, of course, but you do not see your eyes move. It is as if the world instantly made the transition from one view to the next. What happened to that little gap in time? For that matter, what happens to the 80 milliseconds of darkness you should see every time you blink your eyes? Bottom line: Your notion of the smooth passage of time is a construction of the brain. Clarifying the picture of how the brain normally solves timing problems should give insight into what happens when temporal calibration goes wrong, as may happen in the brains of people with dyslexia. Sensory inputs that are out of sync also contribute to the risk of falls in elderly patients.
It’s a totally fascinating article if you want to read the whole thing at Mind Power News