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Split-second decision? 一瞬间做出的决定

中国日报网 2024-06-04 11:35


Reader question:

Please explain this headline: Bus driver’s split-second decision avoids major highway crash.

My comments:

A major highway crash is avoided thanks to a bus driver’s quick reaction and dexterity at the wheel.

Split-second means an extremely short time, shorter than a second to be precise.

Like, in no time.

To split something, you see, is to divide it into two or more parts. If you split a wood stick in two, you have two split sticks. If you split it three ways, you have three parts.

To split a second in two, then, you end up with two half seconds. One second, of course, refers to one-sixtieth of one minute, which is one sixtieth of an hour.

A second, in other words, is very short. It passes, like, in a blink of an eye.

Hence, for the bus driver in our example to react so quickly is commendable. Thanks to his or her split-second reaction and dexterity at the wheel, a major collision on the highway is avoided, saving in the process many lives (the bus is fully loaded with passengers, presumably).

A split second, in short, is very short indeed. If you can make a split-second decision, you’re quick and decisive.

All right, here are media examples of situations where things happen in a matter of split seconds:

1. When a baseball player is up to bat and needs to make a split-second decision about whether “to swing, or not to swing” at an unpredictable curveball, there isn’t enough time for intellectual or cerebral decision-making. Therefore, pro ball players inadvertently train their “little brain” to automatically make go/no-go decisions through lots of practice, practice, practice – which encodes trial-and-error associative learning.

In day-to-day life and on the playing field, mastering a wide range of unconscious, automatic skills (e.g., touch typing without looking at the keyboard, driving a stick shift, riding a bicycle, serving an ace) relies on cerebellar prowess. On and off the court, implicit learning is key to avoiding the pitfalls of “paralysis by analysis” caused by too much cerebral thinking. (See the post “Cerebellum Helps Us ‘Know Without Knowing’ in Sport and Life” for more.)

How Does the “Little Brain” Make Split-Second Decisions Without Overthinking?

A new study in mice has pinpointed how a previously under-investigated molecular layer of interneurons (MLIs) in the cerebellum facilitates split-second, go/no-go decisions. This paper was published on Aug. 31 in Nature Communications.

In a series of elaborate experiments, scientists at the University of Colorado School of Medicine used two-photon microscopy to record cerebellar MLI neural activity as mice made reward-associated, go/no-go decisions.

“We wanted to know how this kind of decision making takes place,” senior author Diego Restrepo, professor of cell and developmental biology at CU Medicine, said in a news release. “How, for example, do you decide to swing or not swing at a fastball in baseball? We found an entire subset of [cerebellar] brain cells that change after learning.”

“[Our study] sheds further light on how the cerebellum functions and the complex web of connections that go into quick decision making,” Restrepo added. “A lot of learning goes on inside the cerebellum. Our data indicate that the MLIs have a role in learning valence. That is, [the cerebellum] helps determine whether something is good for me or not.”

The latest research suggests that cerebellar MLIs make it possible for athletes – or anyone who needs to instantly decide whether “to go, or not to go” in daily life – to automatically make lightning-fast decisions without any deliberation or hemming and hawing.

- How the Cerebellum Optimizes Split-Second Decision Making New research helps to explain how the brain makes lightning-fast decisions, PsychologyToday.com, September 20, 2020.

2. Southampton loanee Paul Onuachu is trending for all the good reasons after his spectacular backheel goal secured all three points for Trabzonspor in a 2-1 win over Konyaspor on matchday 12 of the Turkish Super Lig on Friday night.

With his back to goal, Onuachu hit the ball very hard with his heel and managed to beat the Konyaspor goalkeeper after receiving a lofted pass from Enis Destan.

Onuachu’s sublime strike is reminiscent of the scorpion kick goals scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Paris Saint-Germain in a 4-0 rout of SC Bastia in 2014, Olivier Giroud for Arsenal against Crystal Palace in 2017 and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Manchester United against Sunderland in 2016.

The FC Ebedei product was shipped out on loan to Trabzonspor in September after struggling to adapt to the demands of English football and the methods of managers Rubén Sellés and Nathan Jones in the second half of last season.

But with six goals in eight appearances for Trabzonspor, Onuachu has returned to form and silenced his critics.

Commenting on his second goal against Konyaspor, Onuachu said: “Actually, I don’t know what I can say about the goal. The ball did not come to my feet or to my head.

“I had to make the right decision in a second. It was a split-second decision. It is difficult to describe and explain. You have to decide at that moment.”

- ‘A split-second decision’ - Southampton loanee Onuachu reacts to scoring Olivier, AllNigeriaSoccer.com, November 11, 2023.

3. Former Secret Service Agent Tim Miller stated Thursday on Fox News that agency whistleblowers are “raising alarms” after an alleged petition has circulated flagging concerns within the organization.

Miller appeared on “Jesse Watters Primetime” to discuss the recent claims from Bloomberg News senior White House reporter Jessica Jacobs, who tweeted Thursday morning the alleged petition circulating within the U.S. Secret Service agency has “a number of recent Secret Service incidents indicative of inadequate training” and “potential insider threats.” Fox host asked Miller about his thoughts regarding the issue, to which Miller raised concerns of a potential issue.

“So Jesse, the defund the police boat has taken on water,” Miller said. “I think if you look, first it was the IRS then it’s the FBI. Now you have internal Secret Service agents that are raising the alarm and if you think about it, it’s pretty simple. They are concerned that our mission as the Secret Service agent is compromised.”

“That should cause everybody to go, ‘Well wait a minute, this is the premier protection agency in the world,'” he added. “I’ve been a Marine, I’ve been a police officer and when I went through that training it was challenging. Quite frankly if the internal agents are rising up and saying, ‘we have a problem’ – Houston, we have a problem.”

Watters continued to press Miller on a recent report of a Secret Service agent for Vice President Kamala Harris suffering an alleged medical incident, in which the agent allegedly fought with other detail agents.

“I’m not going to talk about my colleague, obviously she’s got some issues that they are working through. My prayers go with her. But it does raise the question of, ‘Hey who do we want around the most powerful people in the world? Who should be there? Should it be a certain person or should it be the most qualified – the most fit, the person that is demonstrated time and time again they can make decisions that need to be made in split seconds?” Miller questioned.

- Former Secret Service Agent Says Agency Whistleblowers Are ‘Raising The Alarms’ After Alleged Petition Circulates, DailyCaller.com, May 09, 2024.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣  编辑:丹妮)


Blow his own trumpet? 自吹自擂


Armed to the teeth? 武装到牙齿


Truth or dare? 真心话大冒险


The right horse? 合适的人选


Better left unsaid? 不说为妙

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