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Conscious perception of time

  1. Jul 7, 2015 #1
    My understanding of the concepts involved in my question are very limited so please forgive me if this is an utterly stupid question..

    I recently learned that depending on where you are in the universe, your perception of 'now' changes. I was pondering this whilst trying to get to sleep, next to my already sleeping partner. She always drops off around ten minutes after we switch the lights off, whereas I take at least an hour. Which got me wondering:

    For arguments sake, let's say my girlfriend falls asleep at exactly 10pm, myself an hour later at 11. We hypothetically both sleep soundly through the night without disturbance of any kind, and wake up at exactly the same moment the following morning at 7am when the alarm goes off. Because my conscious mind has experienced an hours worth of time more than her, does that put her 'now' out of sync with mine? Could every interaction we have occur to her an hour earlier than it does for me?

    As I said I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, for all I know this has nothing whatsoever to do with physics!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2015 #2
    You are right, nothing to do with physics.
  4. Jul 7, 2015 #3
    Fair enough! Thank you for replying
  5. Jul 7, 2015 #4


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    The relativity of simultaneity that you were probably thinking about in the first place, has got nothing to do with individual perception of the passage of time. It's about whether two observers can objectively agree on the time and place of some event, providing the observers are not stationary w/r to each other (and moving at high speeds, as otherwise it's an imperceptible effect).
    The issue you ended up thinking about has got more to do with psychology than any physics. You're both collocated in space-time, so relativity of simultaneity doesn't come into play.
  6. Jul 7, 2015 #5
    So the amount of time we consciously experience has no bearing on our perceived placement within it, I see. That makes sense, thanks!
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