Does “thought” take place at the fastest speed possible? In times past, this was held to be true, which explains the expression “quick as thought”. Today we know that thought is an impulse that must travel along with a nerve fiber in our body, and this speed can be measured accurately. The surprising thing is that thought turns out to be very slow.
A nerve impulse moves at a speed of only about 155 miles an hour! This means that a message can be sent more quickly outside our body than from one part of our body to another! Television, radio, and the telephone all convey messages more swiftly than our nerves do. A thought traveling by nerve from New York to Chicago would arrive hours later than the same thought sent by telegraph, radio, telephone, or TV.
When something happens to our toe, for instance, it actually takes a while for that impulse to be received by our brain. Suppose you were a giant with your head in Alaska and your feet at the tip of South Africa. If a shark bit your toe on Monday morning, your brain would not know it until Wednesday night. And if you decided to pull your toe out of the water, it would take the rest of the week to send that thought back down to your foot!
Different kinds of “signals” make us react at different speeds. We react more quickly to sound than to light, to bright light than to dull light, to red than to white, and to something unpleasant than to something pleasant.
Everybody’s nervous system sends thoughts at a slightly different speed. That is why certain people can react more quickly to signals than others.
What Is The Speed Of Mind?
70-120 meters per second (m/s) (156-270 miles per hour[mph]).