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SandraGandarez's picture

Reaction Time

Whenever I've been close to stepping on something painful or running into something, I've always noticed the little delay before my body reacts to what I'm seeing. Instead of knowing that propagation is occurring and that all of these reactions are attempting to get me out of harm's way, I've always just thought that it was the surprise that caused my hesitation. If you see a thumbtack on the floor and you try to dodge it, it's normal to assume that its appearance startled you and that's why it took you a second to react. Now that I am aware that it's not surprise but more a timed reaction I'm curious to what happens when you really are surprised by something dangerous. Is that why some people are "frozen" when they are about to be in a car accident or something equally dangerous? Are their action potentials slowed because of the surprise, adrenaline, etc. or is something different preventing reactions?

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