How long is a moment? © Getty Images

How long is a moment?

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I’ll be just a moment…but how long do you have to wait? Back in the 8th Century it was definitely longer than what we generally consider a moment today.

Asked by: Angie Mutch, Stonehaven


The term dates back to at least the 8th Century, when the monk St Bede used it to define a period of 90 seconds. That’s probably longer than most people would regard as a moment.

But if we just mean the duration of a brief experience, we can at least say how short it can be. In 2014, researchers at MIT showed that the brain can identify images glimpsed for as little as 13 milliseconds.

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Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.


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