expansion of time, part ii

pink rose against white backdrop

“If different temporal judgments are generated by different neural mechanisms — and while they often agree, they are not required to. Like vision, time perception is underpinned by a collaboration of separate neural mechanisms that usually work in concert but can be teased apart under the right circumstances… If time as a single unified entity slows down during fear, then this slow motion should confer a higher temporal resolution.”

black and white rose with petals

“Time and memory are tightly linked. In a critical situation, the amygdala kicks into high gear… and memories are laid down by a secondary memory system… that makes them ‘stick’ better. Upon replay, the higher density of data would make the events appear to last longer. This may be why time seems to speed up as you age: you develop more compressed representation of events, and the memories to be read out are correspondingly impoverished. When you are a child and everything is novel, the richness of the memory gives the impression of increased time passage — for example, when looking back at the end of a childhood summer.”

pink rimmed rose petals

“The recalibration of subjective timing is not a party trick of the brain; it is critical to solving the problem of causality.”

rose against sunset

“What is the use of perception, especially since it lags behind reality, is retrospectively attributed, and is generally outstripped by automatic (unconscious) systems? The most likely answer is that perceptions are representations of information that cognitive systems can work with later. Thus it is important for the brain to take sufficient time to settle on its best interpretation of what just happened rather than stick with its initial, rapid interpretation. Its carefully refined picture of what just happened is all it will have to work with later, so it had better invest the time.”

-David Eagleman, Brain Time

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expansion of time, part i

“Most of our current theoretical frameworks include the variable t in a Newtonian, river-flowing sense. But as we begin to understand time as a construction of the brain, as subject to illusion as the sense of color is, we may eventually be able to remove our perceptual biases from the equation.”

River in Tibet

“The days of thinking of time as a river — evenly flowing, always advancing — are over. Time perception, just like vision, is a construction of the brain and is shockingly easy to manipulate experimentally. We all know about optical illusions, in which things appear different from how they really are; less well known is the world of temporal illusions.”

Wall in Los Angeles

“If we inject a slight delay between your motor acts and their sensory feedback, we can later make the temporal order of your actions and sensations to appear in reverse… we [come to] find that ‘time’ is not the unitary phenomenon we may have supposed it to be. When a stream of images is shown over and over in succession, an oddball image thrown into the series appears to last for a longer period, although presented for the same physical duration. In the neuroscientific literature, this effect was originally termed a subjective ‘expansion of time.'”

Clocks in Black and White

-David Eagleman, Brain Time