Navigation Links
People Appear to Use Senses to Keep Track of Time

FRIDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A person's perception of time may be influenced more by sensory information than by a specific internal clock, suggests a new study.

And that means that outside stimuli can bias a person's sense of how much time has passed, researchers say.

"There are many proposals for how an internal clock might work, but no one has found a single part of the brain that keeps track of time. It may be that there is no such place, that our perception of time is distributed across the brain and makes use of whatever information is available," Maneesh Sahani, of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London in the United Kingdom, said in a university news release.

Sahani and colleagues conducted a series of experiments with volunteers to test this theory. In one such test, 20 participants watched circles of light appear on a screen twice in a row, and were asked which one lasted longer. When the circles were flashed along with a mottled pattern that changed at random, but at a regular interval, the participants made better guesses -- which indicated that they were judging the passing of time against the rate in which the mottled pattern changed.

Then the scientists changed the rules: They asked the participants to determine how long the mottled patterns lasted, but varied the rate of the intervals between pattern changes. Although the patterns changed faster, the volunteers judged them to be lasting longer -- a phenomenon suggesting that sensory change can warp a person's sense of time.

The researchers concluded that people's sense of time comes partly from observing the rate of change in their surroundings and comparing it to the expected "average" rate of change in their sensory inputs.

"Our sense of time is affected by outside stimuli, and is therefore highly [variable], which is something that resonates with people's feelings about the passing of time," Sahani said.

Study first author Misha Ahrens added: "It is possible to bias people's perception of time, which does not fit with the idea of a rigid internal brain clock. The answer to why this happens is that part of our perception of time is based on changing sensory input from the outside world, which we can use to improve our judgments of time in an environment where rate of change is likely to be reliable."

The study was published in the Jan. 20 online edition of the journal Current Biology.

More information

For more information on our biological clock, visit the University of Utah's Time of Our Lives.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University College London, news release, Jan. 20, 2011

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Depressed people feel more gray than blue
2. Exercise Success for People Over 50: Reports of Improved Fitness, Circulation and Balance
3. Vaccine May Prevent TB in People With HIV
4. People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
5. Can mobile phones help people EatWell?
6. “Hearts and Minds” Education Program Launched: On Average, People with Mental illness Live 25 Years Less than Other Americans
7. Happy People More Likely to Try Something New
8. Board Certified Renal Specialist, Nina Kolbe, Publishes Second Edition of Kidney Health Gourmet: A Diet Guide and Kidney Friendly Recipes for People Not on Dialysis
9. Visual Cues that Improve Walking for People with Movement Disorders - Study Shows Small Change in Arrangement Can Make a Big Difference in Improvement Gained
10. Pelosi on Repealing Antitrust Exemption: Health Insurance Companies Will Now Be Playing on the Peoples Field
11. Gingrich Hosts The American Peoples Online Health Summit
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
People Appear to Use Senses to Keep Track of Time
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... 29, 2015 , ... Key Housing, a top-rated corporate housing service for the ... apartment community: Epic. In showcasing this featured apartment community in San Jose, Key Housing ... market to efficiently find housing suitable to their needs by showcasing quality housing. , ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... ... 6:00 a.m. EST until 11:59 p.m. EST, customers will be racing the ... orders $80 or more to free gifts with purchases, there will be a new sale ... website for skin care and cosmetic needs, customers will save on already discounted prices. , ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists ... The article explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... An inventor, from ... dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented the patent-pending ELECTRONIC M.D. , ... prescription medications. In doing so, it could help to prevent potential overdose situations. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: ... in Final Cut Pro X. With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add ... ProSidebar as a minimalist title opener. Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/29/2015)... Iowa , Nov. 29, 2015 ... ultrasound guidance technology at the Radiological Society of ... in Chicago November 29 ... system is designed to offer customers unrivaled versatility, ... --> ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Pays-Bas, November 27, 2015 ... traitement photodynamique au Bremachlorin contre le cancer avancé. ... consistant à combiner l,immunothérapie au traitement photodynamique au ... --> Une nouvelle approche consistant à ... le cancer avancé.    Clinical ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... 2015 Ein neuer Kombinationsansatz ...   --> Ein neuer Kombinationsansatz vereint ... --> Ein neuer Kombinationsansatz vereint ... Clinical Cancer Research vom 6. ... Research vom 6. November 2015 berichtet. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: