Is there a word/phrase meaning "perceptible on the timescale of human attention"?

For example, a light turning on and off once per second qualifies. A laser turning on and off at 100Hz is too fast. The movement of the sun and moon in the sky is perceptible, although barely so... you'd have to make a record of where they were (e.g. sundial) and note changes over the span of minutes. Movement of glaciers (in general) is too slow to be perceptible in this way.

Quantitatively I would put this at 10Hz - 0.01Hz, but I'm wondering if a more evocative phrase exists, since I'm looking at the qualitative/evocative aspects of it, rather than quantitative.

For example:

The sway of the trees and the movement of a clock pendulum are _____; the beating of a bee's wings and the movement of a glacier are not.

  • 'Humanly perceivable'.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 15, 2018 at 22:27

2 Answers 2


"Perceptible" is the word you're looking for, which you actually used in your question. Is there a different sense you're trying to bring out that I've missed?


capable of being perceived especially by the senses ·a perceptible change in her tone ·a barely perceptible light

  • 2
    I think the nuance is a definite "by humans" qualifier, where, normally, that is merely implied and only qualified when referring to members of different species or equipment.
    – DukeZhou
    Mar 15, 2018 at 21:03

Adding to Chris Bergin's answer, I'd also suggest:

  • perceivable
  • discernible
  • distinguishable

It's an interesting question--I'm not aware, off-hand, of any words that roll the "by humans" into the core word, possibly because it's implied unless qualified with "by member_of_a_different_species" or a piece of equipment.

That said, I'd hold off on formally accepting an answer because there might be a fancy, technical term for this. (Failing that, we could certainly coin one by combining "anthro-" with one of Ancient Greek words for perception.)

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