Ever wonder how a major league baseball player hits a 90-mph fastball? Ask some researchers at UC Berkeley, who have identified an area of the brain that makes it possible.
Look at the numbers alone and hitting a home run seems next to impossible. A fastball takes .4 seconds to reach home plate after it leaves a pitcher’s hand, but a hitter needs a full .25 seconds to see the ball and react.
“Light hits our eye and the information needs to get to our brain,” said researcher Gerrit Maus of UC Berkeley. “That takes a tenth of a second. After that we make a decision to move, and that signal needs to get to our muscles.”
Maus said it’s an example of a fundamental problem: “Everything our brain receives is actually already out of date by the time the information gets to the brain.”
Luckily, the brain compensates for that lag time. Based on the movement of the object and the background behind it, the brain makes a projection of where the object will be. In a scientific paper released today, Maus and colleagues identified an area of visual cortex where that happens.