Saturday, May 25, 2013

Multiple time lines

Given the recent discussion of time (here and here) I came upon this scientific article today. Some excerpts with lengthy citations removed:

"A popular model for the representation of time in the brain posits the existence of a single, central-clock. In that framework, temporal distortions in perception are explained by contracting or expanding time over a given interval. We here present evidence for an alternative account, one which proposes multiple independent timelines coexisting within the brain."

"We propose that our results are best explained by an appeal to multiple representations of time that coexist within the brain. Trapped by the assumption of a Cartesian theater in which sensory input is passively recorded, modern theories of brain time have largely avoided this framework. Mounting evidence, however, suggests that a single clock-rate model of perceptual time is untenable. Instead, different aspects of time appear to be underpinned by separate neural mechanisms that sometimes act in concert, but are not required to do so."

"Previous work has provided compelling evidence for the existence of independent motor and sensory timelines in the brain. The current experiment extends these findings and shows that individual sensory modalities have their own adjustable timelines.... In light of evidence from other labs, we suggest that a paradigm shift is underway within the field of time perception. Discarding the notion of a single central timer allows for novel frameworks and predictions that will force us to think critically about what it means for time to be represented in the brain."

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