Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Time Perception






Another synchrodipitous radio moment:


While driving from a visit this afternoon I came across the repeat of Tuesday's "All In The Mind" programme on Radio 4. This included an item about a time perception experiment that seemed particularly ITLADian. I'm not sure about the overall conclusions, particularly in respect of schizophrenia, but it's interesting anyway.


I couldn't give it my 100% attention because I was driving, so I'll listen again.


You can access the programme by clicking on "All In The Mind" Tuesday 22nd July.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/listenagain.shtml

12 comments:

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Woodsprite: Michio Kaku (often referenced theoretical physicist by myself and Author of the very good (in parts) Parallel Worlds: The Science Of Alternate Universes And Our Future In The Cosmos) made a four-part series for the BBC last year called TIME.

In one of the programs he repeated a prior experiment into Time Dilation experienced by free-falling sky divers.

An LCD device was strapped to the subject's wrist which displayed random numbers at a set time delay (one every fraction of a second or similar). The subject then, while with feet firmly on the ground, read the LCD screen repeating the series of random numbers verbally as quickly as they could as the numbers flashed across their wrist.

Now, the interesting part of the experiment came when the subjects were hoisted a couple of hundred feet above a safety net on a wire which then detached and sent them free-falling to the ground.

As they were free-falling they again looked at the LCD numbers flashing across their wrist and found they were able to read MORE of the numbers than when on the ground.

The conclusion was that Time (as in Einsteinian Relativity) is distorted by gravity, mass and the relative distance between the two objects) BUT what could be viewed ITLADicly is that in free-fall, and hightened stress levels, there may also be a glutamate trickle (not quite a flood as in an NDE, for even in this experiment the subjects subconsciously knew they were not going to die owing to the existence of the safety net), which would have began at the moment of the free-fall (according to pure CTF theory)

Indeed, parachutists, sky-divers and even myself when I leapt from a crane during a charity bungee jump a few years ago, tell of Time Dilation and slowing of consciousness.

Yes, this is Relativity. But could it also be Glutamate?

woodsprite said...

Karl: Thanks for that. Your explanation and illustration is much clearer to me than example given on the radio.

The implication Dr Eagleman was pushing was that the subjective experience of time slowing when a person experiences extreme stress is not vlidated when tested objectively. He then takes it several steps further, suggesting that schizophrenia is a fault in time perception of different senses and that a "cure" is possible through training. This all seemed to be a leap of logic and poor science based on a simplistic understanding of braain physiology and what happens in schizophrenia. I know it was a short feature and it's difficult to summarise everything within such time constraints but.... (pause for dramatic effect)

Tony manages to cover huge concepts coherently on the radio in limited time as well as fielding tricky questions so my standards are high!!!

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Woodsprite: Thanks Di, I have always hoped that I was reasonably good at explaining things (especially in person, accompanied by extravagant headwear and wild hand movements!)
*giggles*

I agree with you fully, and as you and I have discussed, any "Doctor" that sees Schizophrenia (and any degree of Neuro-atypicality) as something that should be "cured" has completely the wrong grasp of the patient in the first place!

And how can you test subjective experience objectively in relation to Time Dilation??? Surely the very premise is that the experience occurs within subjective consciousness.......

But anyway.......

*harrumph*

*smiles*

woodsprite said...

My thoughts exactly on all counts!

(Chuckles at image of Karl in sequinned mortar board gesticulating wildly!)

Robin said...

Thanks for the link Di! I'm eager to listen to the broadcast. I need to install a plug-in of some sort.

Karl L Le Marcs said...

EVERYONE: I have found an 8 minute video clip of the Michio Kaku TIME series which I mentioned earlier and the "falling" experiment of Time Dilation.

Having just watched it again (after seeing it originally last year) I think you (and especially AP) will find this interesting.

Link to video below:

Can Time Slow Down - BBC TIME
(Michio Kaku and Dr David Eagleman (the very same fellow that Di mentioned from the Radio broadcast today))

Robin said...

Dr. Eagleman's idea of memory density is an intriguing explanation for time dilation, at least maybe a piece of the puzzle. It seems plausible that during moments of hyperarousal (as described in Dr. Sabom's article) our brains take in and store much more information.

I wonder if each person was tested only once in the SCAD experiment? A test subject would become desensitized if dropped repeatedly. Also, knowing there's no real risk must skew the results.

I'm not buying the schizophrenia treatment angle though.

Interesting work in his lab nonetheless.

Eagleman Lab

woodsprite said...

Robin: My challenge to his memory density hypothesis is the effect studied by Wilder Penfield which would suggest that all memories are laid down densely as is evidenced when the brain is stimulated. The mechanism for recall seems to be the thing that limits our access to all these memories. If this were not the case, we would not be able to experience the Bohmian IMAX. So I'm not convinced by his argument.

ra from ca said...

Thank you so much for this fascinating radio program. I see your point about his ideas seem to conflict somewhat with Penfield's experiments that seem to indicate all memories are laid down densely. Is it possible that there are more than one level of memories: e.g. conscious and sub-conscious, and that is why hypnotism can uncover memories that we are not aware we have?

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Ra from Ca: Most memories (within Psychotherapy anyway) function on different levels (Conscious, Subconscious and Unconscious) and this is indeed what Hypnotism and other altered states of consciousness can tap into.

woodsprite said...

Ra From Ca: In my opinion it is the mechanism for accessing memory that varies.

If you think of memory as a library (I love libraries!) with individual memories as books, the ordinary lending library is where you'll find conscious memories. In the reference library you will find memories that can be drawn on now and then (subconscious) but there is also an archive where dusty, rarely used but valuable memories are kept. This could be thought of as the unconscious memories or even the Jungian collective unconscious. These tomes can be accessed via hypnosis or during the Bohmian IMAX. Day to day memories will have referenced the older archives so their unconscious influence lives on.

woodsprite said...

I meant to say "Day to day memories will have referenced BY the older archives so their unconscious influence lives on."

Doh!