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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jan.5 - Where Did the Time Go? Do Not Ask the Brain

Dear Friends,

That's of course if time as we preceive it exists isn't it? Paste the link if you don't receive the images/can't access the links.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/health/05mind.html

Be Well.

David

Where Did the Time Go? Do Not Ask the Brain

Published: January 4, 2010


That most alarming New Year’s morning question — “Uh-oh, what did I do last night?” — can seem benign compared with those that may come later, like “Uh, what exactly did I do with the last year?”

Lou Beach



Or, “Hold on — did a decade just go by?”

It did. Somewhere between trigonometry and colonoscopy, someone must have hit the fast-forward button. Time may march, or ebb, or sift, or creep, but in early January it feels as if it has bolted like an angry dinner guest, leaving conversations unfinished, relationships still stuck, bad habits unbroken, goals unachieved.

“I think for many people, we think about our goals, and if nothing much has happened with those then suddenly it seems like it was just yesterday that we set them,” said Gal Zauberman, an associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business.

Yet the sensation of passing time can be very different, Dr. Zauberman said, “depending on what you think about, and how.”

In fact, scientists are not sure how the brain tracks time. One theory holds that it has a cluster of cells specialized to count off intervals of time; another that a wide array of neural processes act as an internal clock.

Either way, studies find, this biological pacemaker has a poor grasp of longer intervals. Time does seem to slow to a trickle during an empty afternoon and race when the brain is engrossed in challenging work. Stimulants, including caffeine, tend to make people feel as if time is passing faster; complex jobs, like doing taxes, can seem to drag on longer than they actually do.

And emotional events — a breakup, a promotion, a transformative trip abroad — tend to be perceived as more recent than they actually are, by months or even years.

In short, some psychologists say, the findings support the philosopher Martin Heidegger’s observation that time “persists merely as a consequence of the events taking place in it.”

Now researchers are finding that the reverse may also be true: if very few events come to mind, then the perception of time does not persist; the brain telescopes the interval that has passed.

In a study published in the December issue of the journal Psychological Science, Dr. Zauberman led a team of investigators who tested college students’ memory of a variety of news events, including the appointment of Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve (33 months before the study) and Britney Spears’s decision to shave her head (20 months). On average, the students underestimated how much time had passed by three months, the study found.

This was not entirely a surprise. In one classic experiment, a French explorer named Michel Siffre lived in a cave for two months, cut off from the rhythms of night and day and manmade clocks. He emerged convinced that he had been isolated for only 25 days. Left to its own devices, the brain tends to condense time.

But the way it fixes the relative timing of events depends on memory, the new study found. To the extent that the students in the study remembered developments related to the original event — Ms. Spears’s complicated love life, say, or Mr. Bernanke’s interventions in the economy — that event seemed farther away. In a series of experiments, the researchers tested personal memories and memories of film clips seen in the lab. The pattern held up: the more intervening related developments came to mind, the longer away the original event seemed.

“People have a hard time understanding the passage of time,” Dr. Zauberman said, “and in order to understand it latch onto something we do understand” — the unfolding of events.

His co-authors were Jonathan Levav of Columbia University, Kristin Diehl of the University of Southern California and Rajesh Bhargave of the University of Texas, in San Antonio.

In earlier work, researchers found a similar dynamic at work in people’s judgment of intervals that last only moments. Relatively infrequent stimuli, like flashes or tones, tend to increase the speed of the brain’s internal pacemaker.

On an obvious level, these kinds of findings offer an explanation for why other people’s children seem to grow up so much faster than one’s own. Involved parents are all too well aware of every hiccup, split lip and first step in their own children; whereas, seeing a cousin’s child once every few years, without intervening memories, telescopes the time.

On another level, the research suggests that the brain has more control over its own perception of passing time than people may know. For example, many people have the defeated sense that it was just yesterday that they made last year’s resolutions; the year snapped shut, and they didn’t start writing that novel or attend even one Pilates class. But it is precisely because they didn’t act on their plan that the time seemed to have flown away.

By contrast, the new research suggests, focusing instead on goals or challenges that were in fact engaged during the year — whether or not they were labeled as “resolutions” — gives the brain the opportunity to fill out the past year with memories, and perceived time.

Finally, the mind is perfectly capable of interpreting a fast-forward year, or decade, as something other than a frittering away of opportunities for self-improvement. In another series of experiments published in Psychological Science, psychologists found that when people were tricked into believing that more time had passed than was really the case, they assumed they must have been having more fun. The perception heightened their enjoyment of music and eased their annoyance at doing menial tasks.

“One thing that social psychology taught us over and over is that the mind is a wonderful sense-making device, that it takes ambiguous or confusing information and simplifies it according to rules of thumb,” said Aaron M. Sackett, a psychologist at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota who was the study’s lead author.

“In this case, feeling time is shortened but knowing that it’s inflexible, we have to rely upon our own beliefs to make sense of the difference. And one of those is ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’ ”

A year like 2009 surely wasn’t all fun. But some of it surely was — and what better excuse for neglecting the dreary demands of self-improvement?

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esoteric



SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH, ESPAÑOL, PORTUGUÊS

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MUFON

How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:


Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:




Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.

MUFON.COM

ESOTERIC



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