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Why is swatting a fly so difficult?

A new study explains why it is so difficult to swat a house fly – they process information at up to seven times as quickly as a human. Hitting them with a rolled up paper is tricky as they would see the movement almost as if  they were Neo in The Matrix – in slow motion.

Animal behaviour published a paper which found that the perception of time was linked to the size of an animal's body and metabolic rate.

The paper expands into explaining that time appears to slow down during a stressful situation, such as in a car crash. The brain increases the amount of information it is taking in during the adrenalin rush.

The report suggested that dogs are able to process information at twice the rate of a human being, and this would explain why they aren't interested in television. All they see if a flickering image.

Houseflies can see light flickering at a rate seven times that of a human. Researcher Luke McNally of Edinburgh University said “That’s because they are  getting much more information per second through their visual system…  so that second feels longer. These animals are perceiving the world in a very, very different way.”

McNally explained more about the fly “[For the fly] it feels like you are moving so slowly towards them. It’s the same as the famous bullet-time scene where the bullets are moving at this incredibly slow rate as far as Keanu is concerned.”

Dr Andrew Jackson from Trinity College Dublin, who led the study, said “It’s tempting to think that for children time moves more slowly than it does for grown ups, and there is some  evidence that it might.”

Kitguru says: It makes us want to watch the first Matrix film again.

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