# If you were shrunk down to the size of an ant, would you perceive a human to be walking incredibly slow, is that just a movie thing?

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If you were shrunk down to the size of an ant, would you perceive a human to be walking incredibly slow, is that just a movie thing?

In: Physics

i don’t think being small would slow down the walk speed of another human. human remain speedy, even if you smally.

No, it’s not a movie thing. I mean, maybe the way it’s portrayed in certain movies isn’t realistic, but the general concept is a real thing. It’s all about perspective. Basically, you’re looking at something giant doing a lot more movement and comparing it to yourself doing very little movement and deciding that the giant is moving slowly.

Take your arm and hold it straight out to your side, and move it in an arc in front of you until its pointed directly ahead. Takes a second, right? But a giant can’t do that in a second. But the giant also isn’t moving its arm 2ft like you did. It’s moving its arm more like 20ft. The distance it has to cover is much greater, so the same relative motion takes longer at a larger scale.

Turn it the other way for things smaller than you.

Watch the arms on a windmill: they appear to be moving slowly from far away, but up close they whip past you.

Probably not, at least not immediately. But you would potentially become much faster yourself, due to the square-cube law.

When a 3-dimensional object, like a human, are shrunk evenly in all dimensions, areas shrink by the square of the scale factor, while volume (and therefore mass) is reduced by the cube of the scale factor.

And since the strength of a muscle or bone is proportionate to its cross-sectional area, essentially, your body weight decreases faster than your strength does. So your proportionate strength would increase as your size decreased, and stronger legs translates to faster running speeds.

So while normal humans wouldn’t get slower, you would get faster for your size. And if you get accustomed your new speed, you might start to see the normal humans differently over time.

I always imagined we look slow in movies because some insects (flies for example) have a higher reaction time than us (I’m guessing), and so time moves slower to them (sort of)

When a giant robot in a movie takes one step, it may look slow to you. But keep in mind: the robot is covering three city blocks in a single step.

That single step may take five seconds, while you could take a step in half a second. But could you cover three city blocks in five seconds? That robot is actually moving really, really fast.

Conversely, look at something like a hamster or, indeed, an ant like you mentioned. When it runs, its tiny legs are moving super fast, right? Think of how tiny rodents scurry.

But you could easily outrun a hamster or especially an ant. You take one step, and it’s equivalent to a hundred or a thousand of their little steps. Their little legs are going so fast, but they’re actually traveling pretty slowly compared to you.

Massive things have more inertia, which means it takes more effort to get them moving and more effort to stop them. Think of how easy it is to get a ping pong ball rolling, compared to a bowling ball. This is why we perceive “slower” things as being bigger and heavier. But in another sense, they’re not actually “slow”: they can only do so many motions in the same amount of time, but each motion is so much bigger. Just like you can’t scurry your legs nearly as fast as a mouse, but you cover so much more distance with each step that it doesn’t matter.

It’s called Tachypsychia.
Depending on an animal’s preprogrammed metabolic rate, their perception of time is enhanced. It’s why birds, mice, etc have a lightning-quick reaction time.

Other factors cause the look of slow motion to us; weight, gravity, momentum, etc. Dinosaurs would have to track slowly due to their excessive weight. In fact, they often had to rely on the buoyancy of water to help them carry their weight.

But for the sake of the question though, if a human suddenly shrank to an inch, they wouldn’t be suddenly gifted with a faster receptive rate to the environment around them. Sounds would boom to their tinier ear drums, the air would be far-more dense to breathe, they would be at the bottom of the food chain to larger predators, etc.

Godzilla would shred apart the second he took a step. And for gidorah to fly he would need a wingspan that no possible frame could support, like miles. Kyle kill had a good video on it a few years back on his old show.