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Time flies with time

  1. Dec 13, 2008 #1
    Do events seem to pass ever more swiftly because we predict them better with experience?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2008 #2


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    That's probably a question for a psychiatrist or psychologist to answer properly. I believe that the answer is negative, but I'm just going by years and years and years of life experience. Given my total lack of time-sense (which, supposedly, is a symptom of my ADD), I'm probably not the best source. It seems to me, though, that the perceived acceleration of time is simply because the period immediately preceding the present consists of a much smaller percentage of my life than did the same amount of time 40 years ago.
  4. Dec 14, 2008 #3
    It's been shown that initially when you are performing a novel task the prefrontal cortex is quite involved. As you continue to perform the task though the prefrontal cortex becomes less and less involved. It is also known that the prefrontal cortex has a lot to do with sequencing goal-directed actions in time. This we know through evaluation of patients with prefrontal damage.

    So it seems possible to me that "perceived time-passing" becoming faster with experience may have something to do with prefrontal cortex being less involved with many tasks.

    We could go so far as to formulate a hypothesis here: "perceived time-passing is proportional to prefrontal cortex activation level" and this could readily be tested in an fMRI scanner... I wonder if it's been done before...
  5. Dec 14, 2008 #4


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    Interesting, Cincinnatus.
    I was unaware of the novelty/pre-frontal cortex relationship. Does that explain why pre-frontal lobotomy patients seem to have no initiative?
  6. Dec 14, 2008 #5
    Well yes and no, it's consistent anyway. Actually studying lobotomy patients (and other people with PFC damage) was how it was inferred to begin with. Now we have converging evidence from fMRI.
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