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How the Brain Perceives Time

Research into how we keep track of time in our heads is quite complex, considering the many ways timing enables us to negotiate everyday life. And those things appear to be controlled by different parts of the brain, all somehow working together.  

New findings hint that the brain has legions of assorted clocks, all tick-tocking at different rates. Some parts of the brain handle milliseconds and others keep track of decades. Some neural timers handle body movements; others monitor information streaming in from the senses. Some brain departments make timing predictions for the future, while timing of memories is handled elsewhere.

This diversity has led some scientists to focus on figuring out how the brain stitches together the results from its many clocks to reflect the outside world accurately. A deeper understanding of how the brain’s timekeepers work might also shed light on something much more profound: how the brain constructs its own reality. The brain sometimes squishes, expands or warps time, some studies suggest. Subtle timing slips have been linked to emotions, attention, drugs and disorders such as schizophrenia. Those tweaks hint at how the brain normally counts seconds and milliseconds.

ScienceNews give us an overview of brain timing research that varies from playing visual music to rat brain cells to comparing the way people with schizophrenia and those without judge the passage of time. The research itself is like a brain: how do you combine the legion of asorted findings together to create an understanding of our brains? -via Digg

(Image credit: Tang Yau Hoong)


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I'll add that time seems to move faster as you get older. I'm 76 and weeks seems to fly by. Remember when you were a kid how summer seemed an eternity.
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