How our brains create time (Humans)

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, July 05, 2019, 02:49 (133 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: How our brains create time


I can't read the entire article, because it's behind a paywall, but the premise seems sound.


Here is the article's beginning:

"SOME time ago, students at the University of Tennessee were handed an unusual assignment. Imagine yourself as a Lilliputian, they were told, as they stared at a miniature model of their communal lounge, complete with furniture and figurines. The students were asked to put themselves in the little people’s shoes, relaxing on the tiny chairs with minuscule cups of coffee. Then they had to say when they felt 30 minutes had passed.

"For the notionally shrunken students, time flew. Their estimates fell well short of clock time. Even more curiously, the acceleration in their felt time was proportional to the scale of the model lounges in which they were immersed.

This bizarre result, reported in Science in 1981, is occasionally invoked by neuroscientists to suggest that space and time are folded together in the brain as they are in the universe. It is also one of many intriguing demonstrations of how malleable our perception of time is – and how mysterious.

"Time’s passage is perhaps the most fundamental feature of our experience, and yet modern physics can’t decide if it is a fundamental property of the universe. So what is time, and why does it flow? How come it seems to slow and surge? And what, if anything, does the time we experience have to do with the time defined by the laws of nature?

"The search for answers takes us into the strange borderlands between neuroscience and physics – a foggy, treacherous place that exposes the limits of our ability to see reality as it ….....

I read the same article-beginning, and also would not succumb to the pay wall, but I looked at the earlier paper abstract:

Phenomenological space-time: toward an experiential relativity:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/213/4508/681

Abstract
Subjects observing differently scaled environments undergo systematic shifts in the experience of time. The experience of temporal duration is compressed relative to the clock in the same proportion as scale-model environments being observed are compressed relative to the full-sized environment. This research suggests that spatial scale may be a principal mediator in the experience of time.

Comment: our brain learns from our surrounding reality in advance of our understanding what we see and experience, and is demonstrated to fill in bits and pieces, which is part of the argument against free will. I think you are completely correct. Our brain adapts to a smaller environment and shrinks time perception as an adaptation.

Which makes me wonder about how we measure speeds that are on scales smaller than our own. I mean, our universe, even our planet is REALLY whizzing along through space, and our perception, because we exist on a smaller scales, comprehends the time in accordance with our comprehension of the scale relative to ourselves. Basically, its bigger so it appears to be moving far slower, while atoms appear to be moving far faster.

Perhaps it is tied to visual framerate. If you can, imagine your brain as a camera set to take a snapshot roughly 60 times a second. Then imagine it has to string those images together constantly, in real time, in order for you to move and act in the world at the scale which we exist. The brain does this constantly, analyzing each frame and using predictive algorithms and complex target identification (that we have no clue how to replicate yet) to enable to you respond, at times with 'cat like reflexes'. This is your 'Awake' mode where you are alert and aware of your environment.

Now, imagine are you are focused intently on something small, reading, writing, tying a fishhook, your brain has to optimize. One by one it will shut down every unnecessary system until the task itself will become something akin to another reality. However, in doing so the time frame of the real world, and our awareness of it, disappears.

The most interesting thing of this though, is that it means the start of time COINCIDED with, or was the product of, an awareness that makes the passage of time possible.

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What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.


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