Unlocking The Mysteries Of Time: Discover How Your Brain Perceives And Measures Time
Have you ever wondered why time seems to fly by during an exciting conversation, but drags on when you’re sitting and waiting in a doctor’s office? It all comes down to your body’s internal clock.
In Felt Time, you will discover the fascinating science behind how your brain perceives and measures time.
Discover the inner psychological and physiological clock that impacts your life, explore why sometimes minutes seem to last forever and other times they zip pass quickly.
Examine how chickens can delay gratification, how life is a series of three-second intervals and much more!
Find out how your body’s internal clock ticks so that you can best organize your time.
With this knowledge, you can gain control of how quickly or slowly time passes for you!
How We Have Kept Track Of Time Before Clocks Existed: Exploring Our Psychological And Physiological Clocks
Our bodies possess two different clocks that help us stay tuned to the passage of time: physiological and psychological.
On the one hand, we have a psychological clock which is controlled by a pacemaker in our brains.
It emits pulses at regular intervals and is collected by a counter in our minds, allowing us to accurately judge the passage of time.
Additionally, when we’re distracted from the time these pulses may not be counted accurately, making time seem ever more fleeting.
On the other hand, there is also a physiological clock known as our circadian rhythm that follows daily light cycles and affects cognitive performance levels.
Even if no sunlight is visible these rhythms persist.
By employing both alternative clocks together we can ensure that we’ll always be able to accurately determine how much time has passed throughout our day.
Why Delaying Gratification Can Lead To Greater Rewards In Life
Humans are known to be quite unique when it comes to the ability of trading present gains for future satisfaction.
We are able to delay gratification far better than most other animals, making us well-equipped to make decisions that prioritize long-term rewards and benefits over short-term ones.
Often times in our day-to-day life we consider decisions about how long we should wait until the next reward.
For instance, when given a choice between getting one slice of pizza now or two later on, many of us would wait for the latter option, knowing that this would bring greater advantages in the long run.
Psychology research has even studied our willingness to trade present pleasure for future satisfaction using monetary dilemmas such as dipping into a certain amount of money now or waiting until later and receiving more than before.
Studies have shown that those who are able to patiently wait tend to reap much bigger rewards in life overall – with higher test scores in school and better career paths!
Take note of Walter Mischel’s 1988 study involving 500 four and five year old children who were presented with a marshmallow – those that waited got two, while those that dug right in only got one.
Those who could wait went on to achieve far greater successes than their impulsive peers!
That’s why it pays off (no pun intended) from time to time – literally and figuratively – if you’re able to resist temptation and hold out for greater gain down the line!
How Our Brains Process Time And Create Memories
Ernst Poppel’s research in 1988 revealed an intriguing theory about how the brain works: that it perceives time as a series of intervals, each lasting around two to three seconds.
This is thought to be why the verses of songs or poems are often composed of spoken increments that last around three seconds.
Our brains seem to find this length satisfying – both physically and visually – as it is exactly the same duration that our brain registers as “the unit of now.” Furthermore, when we read a book, our short-term memory acts as a bridge connecting the individual moments and storing them into our long-term memory, thus forming a part of the bigger picture.
However, the catch here is that once we take in information from reading or hearing something, that short-term memory only lasts a few minutes before being stored away in our long-term memory.
Thus proving that for our brain, life is truly made up of these three second intervals which are connected by our short-term memory.
Our Subjective Perception Of Time Means We Experience Minutes And Seconds Differently
People may process time differently, but situations don’t affect the speed at which we perceive time to be passing.
This was found during an experiment conducted in the 1960s by cognitive psychologists Ira Hirsch and Carl Sherrick.
The experiment involved playing two sounds that were rapidly played one after the other, and asking participants to identify which note sounded first.
People who identified it accurately had the interval between those two notes reduced until they couldn’t tell them apart any longer – a result which varied from subject to subject.
This means that even though one person could determine the order of two events with a 23 millisecond delay between them, while another person would see it as just one event, if they experienced the same amount of minutes and seconds, they would still have perceived it differently.
Neuroscientist David Eagleman investigated further in an attempt to reconcile our subjective experience of time passing compared to our objective perception, by bringing subjects to an amusement park and measuring how quickly they could take in and process visual information while falling from a 31-meter tower.
He found no significant differences in performance between those with subjective versus objective experiences; however, those taking part still reported that time felt slower during the fall than elsewhere.
This indicates that when it comes to processing time in the brain, people may differ in terms of perception but there is no difference depending on the situation.
When We Experience Time, It Passes Quickly; When We Recall Time, It Slows Down
The passage of time is a relative thing, depending on our experiences.
The quicker we perceive a particular period to be when we actually experience it, the longer it tends to feel when we look back at it in retrospect.
Take for example, going on vacation.
During those first couple of days spent getting adjusted to your new surroundings, time will seem to move quickly while you’re having all these exciting experiences – but you’ll look back and think that those first few days lasted longer than the last.
Now recall sitting in a doctor’s waiting room for an hour; this would end up taking up much less space in your memory compared to if something interesting had happened, like meeting someone and engaging in conversation.
In this case, you’d remember conversations or jokes from that hour – making the memory almost stretch twofold!
And during events themselves, we often have the opposite experience.
A fun day will pass by quickly, while a dull one might seem like an eternity.
When you think back on your vacation again – did it not feel as though the first few days flew by whereas the last days crawled?
This just goes to show that our perception of time varies according to both our experiences and recollections within them.
Slow Down And Live In The Moment – Improve Your Quality Of Life With Mindfulness Exercises
In order to feel more in control of the pace and quality of life, it’s important to be organized, separate work from free time, and practice mindfulness.
To get organized, start by making a to-do list of tasks that need to be accomplished each day.
You may even want to create a schedule or set manageable goals for yourself.
This will help you keep track of what needs to be done so that you don’t become overloaded or stressed out.
It is also important to clearly distinguish between work and free time.
Even if it feels like you’re getting ahead by completing job-related tasks after hours, this can actually cause more stress in the long run.
Allowing yourself relaxation and leisure activities is essential for your health and happiness.
Finally, learn the art of mindfulness – focusing on the present moment without evaluating thoughts or experiences as they arise.
Many studies suggest that practicing mindfulness increases pain tolerance, reduces stress, and slows down aging processes – all helping us navigate life at a better pace.
The key takeaway from Felt Time is that humans have the special ability to understand and cope with the challenges of time.
This is achieved through the use of short-term and long-term memory, which helps us make sense of different temporal phenomena.
The book explores many fascinating aspects our perception and relationship with time.
To conclude, this book makes it clear that our perception of time shapes how we engage with life, work and relationships – something worth being mindful about.