someone told me that self awareness of our own thoughts is like half a second slower than when they show up in an mri. Is this true? He said if he reacted fast enough he could say what i was going to say, thus stealing my trick.
>He said if he reacted fast enough he could say what i was going to say, thus stealing my trick.
It's must've been some sort of asshole who told you that. That's literally impossible.
The mind is a series of layers, a lot of what happens is actually automatic or handled by the subconscious. The conscious is only consulted when the subconscious doesn't have pre-programmed responses to a stimulus or situation.
A common example of this is when you are driving and you suddenly "wake up" and you're almost at your destination. Your subconscious has the basics of driving down to where you don't need to make a conscious decision for every little action. If an event occurs that the subconscious cannot handle, your consciousness is then consulted. This is when you "notice" something.
The consciousness has a lot to do - it doesn't rely on the ease of pre-programming to respond to situations. Instead, it consults memories, experiences, cross-referencing it with other examples and similar situations to come to a consensus and ends up with a course of action (or no action if you are actively trying to suppress functions that normally occur at a lower level). All this processing takes time, all the while the lower-level functions are doing their best to handle the situation, so you're not completely immobilized/zonked out while making a conscious decision - this is why you don't really notice the 0.5 sec delay.
There is a neat video/series of videos that explains this quite well - I'll try to dig it up.
Found it - it's one video in a series about Psychology. This guy is pretentious as fuck, but there is a lot of good information here.
The other CrashCourse videos are pretty neat and worth checking out - especially the Astronomy series. Couldn't finish the Chemistry series because the host of that series is really hard to listen to for any extended period of time.