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Medical Psych: mental condition re flow of time

  1. Jan 29, 2008 #1

    EnumaElish

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    Is there a known medical/psychological condition or experience that results in a reversal of the flow of time (e.g., from the effect to the cause)?
     
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  3. Jan 31, 2008 #2

    NoTime

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    Hmmm. There are conditions that eliminate long term memory storage, so that the person essentially lives in the present.
    I've never heard of a condition remotely like you are describing.

    However, as an exercise in mental gymnastics it is possible to remember events in a reverse sequence.
    I would have to say that a clinical condition like this would eliminate the possibility of perceiving the present and would either be fatal if your body motions corresponded to your perception or result in a comatose condition.
    Unremembering your last meal.... :yuck:

    Is there some reference you came across that would make you ask this or is it just curiosity?
     
  4. Jan 31, 2008 #3
    If you're interested, there's an audio signal that induces the sensation that time slows down, almost to a halt.

    But from effect to cause, I can't think of how this can be experienced. Can you be more specific?
     
  5. Jan 31, 2008 #4
    It's called regression. Where someone relives the past.

    In it's worse form, someone whom has lost a love one, will seek them. To where it's known by those around.
     
  6. Feb 9, 2008 #5
    Could you elaborate more on this, please!
     
  7. Feb 9, 2008 #6

    Evo

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    These "regressions" are usually led by people that are guilty of seeding false memories into the subject, either knowingly or through ignorance. False memories are quite easy to create.

    Again, superstition, false memories, deception and naivite are found to be the causes.
     
  8. Feb 9, 2008 #7
    > > If you're interested, there's an audio signal that induces the sensation that time slows down, almost to a halt.

    > Could you elaborate more on this, please!

    Sorry I got confused. Audio is for improved learning, using what's called a binaural beat, where multiple tones are played simultaneously to create beat sounds in the perception. The sensation of time slowing down is another technique, it's hypnosis.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2008 #8

    Moonbear

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    I can't think of anything, and even scanned the index of the DSM IV to see if there was anything that might fit with this. The only thing that might fit with this description would be a hallucination. I don't know if there are hallucinations that are perceived in this way, but I suppose it might be possible.
     
  10. Feb 9, 2008 #9

    Moonbear

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    Unless s/he really meant flashbacks, not regression. As you've pointed out, "regression" is not a psychiatric term, but often something used by charlatans talking about "past life" experiences. Flashbacks, on the other hand, are real psychiatric conditions through which one reexperiences things that have happened to them in their past, usually traumatic events. But that doesn't fit with what the OP asked about with regard to experiencing a reversal events from effect to cause.
     
  11. Feb 12, 2008 #10
    Is it usually accompanied by smoking something?
     
  12. Feb 15, 2008 #11

    EnumaElish

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    Thanks for all responses. I started with a physics point of view. Specifically, thermodynamic laws dictate the direction of time (i.e. cause ---> effect) in the known universe. For example, imagine two separate containers, one holding blue dust particles, the other red dust particles. When two separate containers are united, the two colors mix. And once they are mixed, we do not expect the red particles separate themselves to a corner, nor expect the blue ones go to a different corner.

    I was wondering how this sequencing of events is wired in the human brain, and whether there are exceptions to how we are programmed to perceive the "cause ---> effect" sequence.

    If there are exceptions, that could provide clues about how our brains came to be wired to represent the "reality" as we know it.

    On the other hand, the absence of an exception could mean that physical laws are very deeply ingrained at the core of our brains and perceptions.
     
  13. Feb 15, 2008 #12

    NoTime

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    I'm inclined to say that it's ingrained at the cellular level.
     
  14. Feb 15, 2008 #13
    It seems to me that since causes actually do precede effects, a phenomenon like this couldn't simply be a perceptual problem. The brain in question would need to record past events and then play them in reverse order to the conscious mind.
     
  15. Feb 15, 2008 #14

    Moonbear

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    This is why I've suggested a hallucination (as far as I know, flashbacks would also be considered a form of hallucination, but I'd have to check on that). If for some reason one's sensory system was detecting the events as they happened, but awareness of that at a conscious level was somehow delayed or disorganized, that might be a perceptual level problem...but I know of no such disorder that has such a symptom.
     
  16. Feb 15, 2008 #15
    Certainly a hallucination would qualify, that makes sense. I was just separating out the recording-and-playback issue as a logical necessity, whatever the organic cause of the experience.

    EnumaElish's theory that our perception of this order of cause-effect is hard-wired somehow. I certainly can't remember a dream I've had, nor a dream I've heard described to me, where effect clearly follows cause.

    But I have had dreams where an event had an unreasonable or illogically large effect on subsequent events, almost as if they were somehow a cause preceded by its consequences. It seems to me that if we really had wiring in our heads that correlated cause and effect and prevented or flagged sensory experience that didn't match, that faculty would operate in our dreams and I wouldn't say that effect strictly follows cause in my own dreams or dreams that have been described to me.
     
  17. Feb 18, 2008 #16

    EnumaElish

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    Here is a possible example.

    "Patient" or the "subject" cannot distinguish the timing of the physical effect from the timing of the inferred effect.

    Imagine the subject is facing a lamp which is activated or deactivated by a switch. The subject cannot see the switch.

    Suppose the experimenter disconnects the switch. The subject observes the effect ("it was light, now it is dark"). From this observation the subject concludes "the switch must be disconnected."

    But the subject cannot map the actual disconnecting to a point time. Instead, the subject represents that the switch is disconnected simultaneously with the subject's inference that the switch must be disconnected.
     
  18. Feb 19, 2008 #17
    Hmm. My first impression is that any conceptual or causative notions about the relationship between electric lights and switches can't be mentally hard-wired because those things have not existed during most of human history. I would expect the human mind to be equally accepting of the notion of lights causing effects in switches as it would be of switches causing effects in lights.
     
  19. Feb 19, 2008 #18
    Maybe if you give your subjects enough acid and shine lights in their eyes long enough.
     
  20. Feb 20, 2008 #19

    EnumaElish

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    Or, by a "turn" of their DNA code or the wiring of their brain, they experience the cause and the effect in reverse (time-wise even if not logic-wise).

    We know that our eyes optically record the world upside-down, but our brains correct the image. There may be brain-damaged patients who see the world upside-down, at least initially (until their brain re-learns to compensate for the optical flaw).

    My question is, can there be "patients" whose brains have lost the ability to put the effect before the cause, and perceive their sequencing in reverse?
     
  21. Feb 21, 2008 #20
    My point is that it would have to be more than something about the way that incoming information is perceived, though - someone's mind would have to record information and play it back in reverse. And there would be a perceptual discontinuity when one bufferfull, as it were, of information was exhausted and a new one was taken up.

    Effect following cause isn't just a matter of perception, it's the way things actually work. (I actually tried to make a post questioning whether the statement of the preceding sentence is really true, but it got deleted. :tongue2: No hard feelings, though.)
     
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