How Your Mental State Affects Your Experience of Time

How we remember time is vastly different to how we experience it, says neuroscientist Dean Buonomano.

Time is objective—except between your ears, says neuroscientist Dean Buonomano. Each of us intuitively feels what has been written about since at least 1890, in William James' 'The Principles of Psychology': a warping of our internal clock that is inconsistent with the notion of time as a constant force. Here, Buonomano explains our paradoxical experience of time. In the moment, pleasure is fleeting, while pain and boredom seem to last forever. But that's just one way our brain interprets time: prospectively. In the opposite view, retrospective timing, the tables are turned, and the good times are rebuilt to hold much more weight in our memory while that six-hour delay at the airport fades into oblivion. How we remember time is vastly different to how we experience it. Dean Buonomano is the author of Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time.

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Does Time Exist? Why Our Gut Feelings Are No Match For Physics

Physicists' ideas about the nature and existence of time may seem incongruent with our experience of it, but author James Gleick makes a case for why we need to keep an open mind.

Physics often makes a fool of our gut feelings. James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History makes this point using the most elemental example. You, sitting or standing to read this now, your gut feeling and experience tells you that you’re sitting or standing on a flat plane, on an immobile surface. Science has some news for you though, in Gleick’s words: "You're actually on the surface of a giant sphere that's spinning at high speed and hurtling through space, and by the way there's no difference between up and down except an illusion that's created by the force of gravity."

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