• Around 300 milliseconds. That's how long it took a volunteer to begin to understand a pictured object. Add to that another 250 to 450 milliseconds to fully comprehend what it was. Total speed of thought: between 550 and 750 milliseconds. Such are the results coming out of work conducted by John Hopkins scientists seeking to measure rates of comprehension. "This information has been difficult to acquire," says neurologist and team leader John Hart, "even with different combinations of behavioural tests, electrical recordings and imaging studies such as PET scans." Yet by taking advantage of a unique opportunity afforded by a patient scheduled for tests using electrodes surgically placed on his brain, the researchers have moved one step closer to "building theories of higher mental activity." Until now, the speed of cognitive operations (including language processing) has been the missing ingredient. Reporting their findings in the May 25 Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, the researchers describe how the patient was asked to name and categorize a variety of pictures and words. By way of a grid of 174 electrodes, his brain activity was then monitored. The speed of comprehension was far quicker for objects that were already familiar to him. The data, obtained within a single stage at a single site in the brain, are further evidence that information accumulates gradually in the brain, rather than in a strictly all-or-none fashion. Reference Link:
  • There is no way to measure the exact speed of human thought. As you probably will have observed, that those of us who are mentally ill in some way will either have a faster thought process or a slower thought process due to the chemical balance of the brain. The mind is one of the most complex things to break down. It is surely impossible to understand and figure out how fast we think. Its a reflex, a way of life.
  • Impossible to know. Time is relative, an illusion created by our minds. What we know as seconds, minutes, hours, are merely handful quantifications of time which we came up with out of necessity (pioneered by many ancient civilizations to measure a day). To "time-frame" (or correlating an event with a given amount of time) inherently requires thought. Thinking how much it takes to think is redundant, a dog chasing its tail. So, the smallest time unit you'll ever know is the time it takes for your fastest thought to develop. I find the investigation quoted above irrelevant, and incomplete at best. Simply put, there are much faster thoughts than deciding if a drawing is a circle or a square. The simpler of them being perhaps, truths and not. e.g. Do you breathe? Are you a human being? Did you know that if your brain worked faster than everybody else's, you'd be living in a slow-motion-like world? If someone asked you and a friend of yours to count 3 seconds in your mind, and then say out loud "done", you'd rarely, if ever, say it at exactly the very same time. No mind is the same to another, so no idea of time is the same, that's why we need atomic-precision devices to remind us and we all stick to them even if we think it goes too fast or too slow. So, in a way, what's the smallest time unit you can think of?
  • There are several "types" of thought and gradients between. Prime thought is is innately part of a being... and time along with matter and energy and space are not a factor affecting it, and in fact, are effected by it. It has more to do with a "knowing" or a consideration of how things are. Most people recognize some of the gradients of thought which are prompted by reactions to what is observed. This is a slower realm of thought. Something is observed and thoughts result. What different people are aware of is relative to their concept of thought and so you can have variations of the concept of thought depending upon a person's awareness. Thought actually gets "perverted" into a much slower realm of "thinking" or "figure-figure" as one goes down-scale. A good example could be a sports player or a skilled musician -- he or she doesn't "think" the actions of the activity. Here, there is a closer approximate to a "knowing". It is closer to an aesthetic wavelength and is "lighter" and faster. However, if one is learning a skill, or "how to drive a car", or trying to solve a problem for days, often you will recognize a lower and slower realm of thought ... thinking or "figure-figure". Thinking, or mulling things over in the mind, or worrying, or this kind of introverted attention is "heavy" and slow and downscale. Unfortunately, there is something wrong with the mind of which most people are not aware. This affects the person adversely and without their recognition of it or the source. It influences their thoughts, attitudes, emotions, sensations, body, behavior, etc. Stimuli make a person react but the person is not remotely aware that he or she is reacting, or is not aware of what it is that is influencing him. It is hidden from the person's view, but dramatically influences the person. It is an out-of-sight aberrated mechanism. More than 95% of the population are not even aware that this mechanism exists nor are they aware that it very dramatically influences their lives. Probably the first "Matrix" movie could be some sort of analogy as to people's awareness of this hidden mechanism held in the mind. This hidden influence certainly effects the speed of thought...and the very thoughts or ideas or behavior which a person has. So, speed of thought is relative to a person's case condition, and speed of thought is relative to whether it is prompted from a stimulus or whether it is more innate. By the way, "thought" is not part of the brain. The brain is a piece of stuff for the body and to expedite body communications.
  • 7.05419978 × 10^26 mph This is LESS THAN the about calculation of the speed of thought, saying that your thoughts actually go to the places you are thinking of. 0.0946969697 mph This is the actual speed it takes your neurons to travel say just half an inch.
  • Myself i believe it is the only thing faster then the speed of light. Almost instantaneous much like neutrino's and partials that act to each other not even knowing what they are reacting to. Like a cosmic
  • It is 47.
  • It all depends on how closely connected the brain's nerve cells are. The brain's neural networks are made up of nerve cells that exchange pulses via synaptic connections. Unlike atoms in a crystal, which are arranged on a regular, cubic lattice, nerve cells grow synaptic connections in a highly specific but irregular fashion. The more highly connected the neural networks are, the faster the neurons can synchronize and the faster the thinking pattern.,,1143790,00.html
  • We can measure the speed of neural activity. It is a physical and concrete process. See above answers for details. But the idea of measuring "thought" is beyond a discrete answer. A thought is a voluntary process, thinking, that we may indulge in briefly or at our leisure.
  • Thought travels at the rate of 24 billion miles per second.
  • Your question is defeatist in nature -- speed, velocity and the like related to matter which is specifically part of our physical world which we sense as stimuli, then as we are able to distinguish characteristics we begin to perceive, but have not yet comprehended (as in repeating or writing a foreign language - we can duplicate the features but don't understand the meaning). Perception (or percepts) relate to the physical nature around us -- once we establish a concept (or category), we begin to enter into thought which is unique and not of the physical realm around us. Pure or true thought (a priori) is cognitive processing which falls outside the nature of our understanding -- and that which has no dimensions cannot be measured and cannot be reasoned according to our physics, knowledge or experience. Pure thought has no relationship with time. It simply is. When we try to relate to it we inject physical (relative) characteristics which allow us to use our reason and logic -- but all we are doing is measuring our ability to input, process, or formulate our output. Tom
  • hahahha, here's the short answer: depends on the person.
  • Faster than I can keep up with at
  • Sometimes far slower than the speed of lips. To a well trained person though it will be faster than lip-speed.
  • It's as fast as the exchange of sodium ions within the synaptic gap!
  • ...wait...give it a second...
  • Depends............................................on doing......................................the thinking.
  • I am not a scientist, but I love it. I also am a spiritual person. I think science and faith can exist together. I think the speed of thought is faster than the speed of light. In your mind you can travel to the outer edge of the universe or go to a distance star that is light years away, and be there instantly. You can travel back in time to moment in the past. I have heard of near death experiences where people have said that while they were outside their body they would think about a love one and before the thought could be completely processed that they would be in the living room where the person was at, observing them. It is also said that in the after life they did not use words to communicate, a form of telepathy was used. Instant communication. I know some people are agnostic and what not, or believe science and spirituality don't mix, but I was just throwing my 2 cents on it.
  • something you don't have to worry about.
  • If a physical number had to be put on the speed of thought. How fast would it be? Is it 24 billion miles per second?
  • Depends how bright you are.
  • At the very least, the speed of light. Some now theorize that thought is anchored at the quantum level and is correlated with all other quanta in the universe and is thus instantanous, i.e. faster than light.
  • The speed which takes for a person to figure out the gist of a conversation. The time taken to process the thought varies within each individual.
  • You are on Earth by default (not by choice) and suddenly you think you moved yourself to Mars in your thoughts. Is that a speed of thought? I don't think so, cause to really move to Mars with your thoughts you must think about every milimetre of space and matter on the way between you and the surface of Mars, then to connect those points by something and only then you make it to Mars. You can not just jump from one point to another without any impact to something that's in between. Regarding the whole thing we don't know about it is because our brains are not big enough to understand and comprehend such high matters. Some day we may, or may never.
  • um,..well it's ah..I think it's fast.and stuff.
  • "Thought travels at the rate of 24 billion miles per second." Master W.F Muhammad
  • depends on the driver .

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