patrickandrews + time   46

The time illusion: How your brain creates now - life - 07 January 2015 - New Scientist
In recent years, they have amassed evidence indicating that now lasts on average between 2 and 3 seconds. This is the now you are aware of – the window within which your brain fuses what you are experiencing into a "psychological present". It is surprisingly long. If Wittmann is correct, to understand the now that we experience, we first need to understand its subconscious component, the "functional moment", which operates on the timescale at which a person can distinguish one event from another. This varies for different senses. The auditory system, for example, can distinguish two sounds just 2 milliseconds apart, whereas the visual system requires tens of milliseconds. Detecting the order of stimuli takes even longer. Two events must be at least 50 milliseconds apart before you can tell which came first.

How does the brain bind all the dislocated stimuli into a single psychological event, a functional moment?

There's good evidence that even at the subconscious, millisecond level, the brain makes predictions. This is what happens when you watch a badly dubbed movie. Your brain predicts that the audio and visual streams should occur simultaneously and – as long as the lag between them doesn't exceed about 200 milliseconds – after a while you stop noticing that the lip movements and voices of the actors are out of sync.
time  consciousness  perception 
january 2015 by patrickandrews
It's time physics recognised that time is real - opinion - 26 April 2013 - New Scientist
The best known arrow is the thermodynamic arrow of time, which refers to the irreversibility of processes such as broken porcelain. To explain this we invent a quantity that increases whenever an irreversible process happens – entropy – which the second law of thermodynamics asserts can only increase. In the 19th century, Ludwig Boltzmann proposed that the second law can be understood as a consequence of the hypothesis – then unproven – that matter is made of atoms. Entropy, Boltzmann proposed, is a measure of the disorder of atoms, and its tendency to increase is a consequence of the observation that random processes are more likely to introduce disorder than order.

Boltzmann's atomic hypothesis was correct. Yet he faced critics who were quick to point out a paradox lurking in his reasoning. The laws that describe the motion of atoms are reversible in time. So how come the second law of thermodynamics isn't? The closest we can get to a time-symmetric form of the second law says that if we find a system with low entropy it is most probable that entropy will increase in the future and that it was higher in the past.

Yet this still doesn't explain why our universe has such a strong arrow of time. As physicist Roger Penrose pointed out in 1979, the only thing that can explain the thermodynamic arrow of time is that the entropy of the initial conditions of the universe was very low. But this is extremely improbable too.
thermodynamics  entropy  time  physics  reversibility 
april 2013 by patrickandrews
Subconscious mental categories help brain sort through everyday experiences
a series of experiences that usually occur together (temporally related) form an event until a non-temporally related experience occurs and marks the start of a new event. In the example above, pots and food usually make an appearance during cooking; a crying child does not. Therein lies the partition between two events, so says the brain.

This dynamic, which the researchers call "shared temporal context," works very much like the object categories our minds use to organize objects
brain  representation  sequence  time  context 
april 2013 by patrickandrews

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