Even though there are some true video game experts out there, the human brain is naturally always going to be a bit delayed when it comes to processing sensory information — especially on a TV or computer screen.
In a new short video, radio podcast host and writer Anthony Carboni explains that our brains “suck” at video games, and actually lag behind by milliseconds when it comes to processing what’s going on when you’re fighting off little digital figures on the screen.
There’s an 80-millisecond delay between your eyes seeing something and your brain processing it. “By the time you notice something, it’s 80 milliseconds in the past,” Carboni says in the video. “If a game is running at 60 frames a second, that means every frame is on screen for about 17 milliseconds.” HD monitors have about 10 to 15 milliseconds per frame, which means your brain is about five frames behind when playing video games. In other words, thanks to the human brain, we are always slightly living in the past.
Of course, the brain naturally prepares itself for its inevitable lagging through something called neural prediction, which involves observing the behavior of things, storing that information in your memory, and then using it later. For example, though the brain may not be able to process a moving ball’s every movement as it hurtles toward you, it can predict where the ball will end up — which can help spur you to get out of the way. Neural prediction aids in video gaming as well; your brain may be a few milliseconds behind, but it can predict where something will end up and make you react a bit sooner.
It’s not like game developers aren’t aware of our brain’s problems with video games. Carboni explains that game developers in fact add little things to help us, such as lighting and color to highlight certain important aspects, as well as lag and latency compensation systems.
“At the end of the day, your brain is quirky, and everyone’s filters and reaction times are different,” Carboni says in the video. “So, stop blaming the hardware and software, and start blaming your own wetware (brain).”