Delay Time

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Delay time , also called reaction time or latency (time) in different contexts , is the period of time between an action or an event and the occurrence of a reaction. The action can be hidden and only reveal itself through the reaction.

Subject classification

Stock market

In the stock exchange business, the latency period describes, on the one hand, the minimum duration that a posted trading transaction needs to carry out and, on the other hand, the time required to transmit the relevant price information. If a stock exchange price is delivered without delays, it is referred to as a real-time price .

Astrometry and Geodesy

In astrometry and geodesy , the average response time for star measurements is called the personal equation . Depending on the type, it can be a few tenths of a second, but for the same observer it is constant to a few hundredths of a second.


In medicine it is called the latency period

  • When the body is exposed to harmful substances ( noxae ) or harmful deviations in the genetic material ( cancer ), the clinically symptom-free interval between the action of a noxious agent (e.g. radiation, poison, mechanical stress, damaged genetic makeup of cells ) and the first appearance of complaints. In the case of microbiological noxae ( bacteria , fungi , parasites , viruses ), this must be distinguished from the incubation period .
  • In neurology , this describes the duration of the conduction velocity of peripheral nerves . It describes the period between the stimulus (e.g. current impulse) and the stimulus response (e.g. muscle contraction ) in the context of electroneurography .


In psychology , the reaction time of humans is measured. The response is determined for various stimuli, e.g. B. Press the light signal button (muscular reaction), press one of two buttons (choice reaction), understand and pronounce the commanded word (sensory reaction), only react to certain stimuli (difference reaction). For the simplest reactions (e.g. pressing a button) the reaction time is 0.2 seconds on average. The reaction time to sudden events (e.g. in traffic) is also known as the moment of shock . The delayed psychosexual development from 6–12. Year of life is called the latency period .


With technical devices such as controllers or analog-digital converters , the response or latency time is an important parameter; the response time of flat screens is even a quality feature. In telecommunications technology, a distinction is made between various technical delay times. In data communication or human-machine communication, one speaks of response time .

Video and music

With live video broadcasts and in music there are desired delays, called Delay , and undesirable propagation delays .


Delay effect or time lag describes in economics a delay between the beginning of an action, which can be understood as a reaction of the political actors to a certain process (e.g. in the economy), and its effect on the area (e.g. Economy).


  1. ^ Pschyrembel Clinical Dictionary . 256th edition. de Gruyter, Berlin, New York 1990, ISBN 3-11-010881-X .