The Flash is a superhero whose power is super speed. In the TV shows (the current one and the one from the 90s portrayed by John Wesley Shipp), the super speed effect is often shown by slowing down/freezing events around The Flash. This probably means that The Flash also has super-reflexes in addition to his super speed, so that he does not crash into the first building in his way.

What about The Flash's thinking ability? Since the world seems to slow down around him, I guess he can analyze a situation faster than anyone else (at least while in motion) but has The Flash ever been seen using "super fast thinking" to solve problems (like a super complicated maths equation or science problem)?

Note: I know The Flash mostly from the TV shows, but any answer from the comics is interesting to me too.

  • 1
    I was wondering the same about the X-Men speedster dude (can't remember his name)
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:54
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    @Alex, I think is Quicksilver.
    – Kreann
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:56
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    In the most recent episode of The Flash, they were specifically attempting to test his multitasking capabilities while using his speed. He did well playing board games and ping pong, but lost his chess match, but that could easily just be because the other player was better.
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:56
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    For the comic version it is stated that All incarnations of the Flash can move, think, and react at light speeds
    – Kreann
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:59
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    This question was always something that bothered me about The Flash. He couldn't do what he does without speeding up his though processes as well. Quicksilver, on the other hand, is different. In the comics, he's kind of a jerk most of the time, and he explains it at one point. He says he doesn't speed up to do the things he does, he slows down to interact with everyone else. Imagine yourself having to do everything at super-slow speed most of the time. Imagine then waiting in the checkout line at the supermarket while someone fiddles with pennies.
    – Random
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 21:07

3 Answers 3


Pick up the first volume of The Flash in the New 52 (Move Forward) from your local library or book store. This is addressed specifically in the first several issues. Yes, he can think faster, playing out possiblities, and this nearly has dire consequences for him (his mind being preoccupied with possiblities instead of action).

  • 1
    It would be better to include the relevant parts (in block quote or pictures) of the volume in reference rather than telling the OP to "go fetch".
    – Skooba
    Commented Apr 25 at 17:08

Please note that while a certain amount of reaction time is implicit in their ability to operate a super-speed, so too, is a certain degree of auto-pilot or autonomous action. The power set only serves as wish-fulfillment if mundane tasks can be completed at super-speed relative to a normal frame of reference. Otherwise, some of Flash's greatest feats would be psychologically sisyphean torment (manually building an entire bridge by oneself, reading the contents of an entire library, etc) and Flash would never trip or slip as is a common trope applied against him.

You may intuit that from watching the TV show when Barry uses his powers to separate a solution by acting as a human centrifuge... making the task quick and painless, rather than kicking his whole being into a high speed frame of reference making the task even more tedious than simply fetching a replacement centrifuge.

This implies that Flash has some control over his own relative frame of reference with respect to his own powers.

Modern Flash - Wally West New52 Flash - Barry Allen

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    Love that art! What's it from?
    – William
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 3:23

Yes of course he can. In season 3 episode 3, "Magenta," the episode starts with Julian Albert giving Barry a speech on how work ends at 7:00 not at 6:58. Barry keeps on staring at the clock and tells the watcher how two minutes can seem like a very long time when you want to go somewhere, but imagine that for a speedster...

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