Professional Gamers See Things at a Higher FPS, New Research Suggests

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Image: Valve

Professional gamers and other elite athletes are able to excel at their craft partially because they have the ability to see more images per second than the average person, suggests researchers with Trinity College Dublin, who had examined the “temporal resolution” of 80 men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 as part of a recent experiment and discovered that individuals differ widely in the rate at which they perceive visual signals, with some brains seemingly able to run at a higher FPS. Temporal resolution refers to the rate at which people perceive the world.

Researchers observed:

If the light source flickers above a person’s threshold, they will not be able to see that it is flickering, and instead see the light as steady. Some participants in the experiment indicated they saw the light as completely still when it was in fact flashing about 35 times per second, while others were still able to perceive the flashing at rates of over 60 times per second.

Clinton Haarlem, PhD Candidate in the School of Natural Sciences, noted:

  • “We also measured temporal resolution on multiple occasions in the same participants and found that even though there is significant variation among individuals, the trait appears to be quite stable over time within individuals.”
  • “We don’t yet know how this variation in visual temporal resolution might affect our day-to-day lives, but we believe that individual differences in perception speed might become apparent in high-speed situations where one might need to locate or track fast-moving objects, such as in ball sports, or in situations where visual scenes change rapidly, such as in competitive gaming.”
  • “This suggests that some people may have an advantage over others before they have even picked up a racquet and hit a tennis ball, or grabbed a controller and jumped into some fantasy world online.”

The Guardian mentioned in its coverage:

Previous studies have suggested that animals with high visual temporal resolution tend to be species with fast-paced lives, such as predators. Human research has also suggested that this trait tends to decrease as we get older, and dips temporarily after intense exercise. However, it was not clear how much it varies between people of similar ages.


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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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