August 28, 2020

Time Perception


There are many factors which contribute to our perception of time. Our perceptions must undergo a filtering process before the event is known to us. Suppose that each hiatus or gap in processing is a range or span. Within such a span, there are bits of information proportional to our range of perception. As events unfold, we maintain an upper and lower bound that could change at any moment.

The upper and lower bound is the maximum and minimum limit of stimuli our brain can process in a given event frame. If we decide to load up on caffeine, our brain waves transition from lower frequency to higher frequency. As adrenaline increases, our range of perception expands. Our odds of survival increases as processing capacity shifts toward the maximum limit. Caffeine is a substance which can induce this "fight or flight" response. A near-death experience is a another pathway.

Suppose the range between the upper and lower bound increases and our brain frequently oscillates between each end. This would surely induce physiological stress, but the point is how it relates to the perception of time. If such a scenario occurs, the mind would not adapt within a central point. Consider the oscillation of moods that we experience. There exists a widespread spectrum, meaning that some people experience a much wider range at a higher frequency.

If the range is marginal and the oscillation is relatively smooth, then there is a central point that defines normality on a relative scale. It seems as if normality exists when the range is not so noticable and the frequency between cycles is low enough. If the range is wide and the transition is slow, then the central limit is crossed less frequently. Therefore, a new point of reference is slowly assimilated.

We need to assimilate this point of reference to induce time perception. So, if we adapt to a certain range of stimuli over an extended period, then we experience changes in time perception when mental processing exceeds our previous limit. The changes that we experience are more noticable when these shifts do not occur too frequently. If we constantly shift between fast processing speed to low processing speed, time perception will likely seem closer to our typical rate.

If our processing speed is generally very fast and suddenly our mind slows down due to medicine, then time will seem to speed up. The reason is because we now pull in less bits of information per event frame. Therefore, we would need multiple event frames to equal a typical frame. But the span between a single frame is the same. So, it seems like multiple events have passed. In the opposite scenario, if our processing speed sped up relative to our typical rate, then time perception slows down. For this case, we are pulling in more bits of information per usual. Therefore, we need fewer event frames to equal a typical frame. For this reason, it seems as if the event frames are compressed.

Time perception begins with a point of reference. The cylic motion of the earth relative to sun initiates the process. If we track every single iteration of change in terms of light intensity, then our perception becomes more in-sync with the natural cycle.

Suppose that we paid attention to the sun's movement from dawn to dusk for every event frame. For this case, we would exhibit a more accurate accessment of time in terms of the dirunal cycle. If we paid attention in alternating cycles, then our perception would start to deviate. As the alternating cycle expands, we lose connection to the sun as a reference point. The more we disconnect from the reference point, the shorter our event frames seem to be. Objects are now close in relation to us, which causes time perception to speed up.

The best way to speed up time percetion is to escape from reality. If the length of each event frame is proportional to the radius of the sun relative to us, then reversing the process speeds up the perception of time. The minimum distance that we connect with the reference point occurs as we disconnect from reality or invert our minds. Imagine yourself in a class that bores you to death. If clocks were scattered in all directions, then it would be exceedingly difficult to not pay attention to the slow progression of time. This would cause time to lag unless the mind resorts to daydreaming. Notice how time tends to speed up during the anticipation and duration of a vacation. Once the mind becomes impatient to get at some destination, then time seems to drag. This often occurs on the way back home from a trip.

If we wish to increase our perception of time while maintining good health, we should practice being mindful. The more present we are in the moment, the slower time seems to drag by. Meditation is one such way to slow down time. Reducing stress increases the ratio of alpha brain waves relative to beta brain waves. Lower frequency brain waves occur during relaxation.

Ever wonder why sleep seems to pass by so quickly? Our brain waves transition from theta to delta brain waves to allow the body to recoup and recover. Time seems flow rapidly during this period. Our dreaming period occurs during the theta wave succession. Therefore, dreams actually cause time perception to slow down relative to the delta state. Since the brain waves spike so abruptly, it causes the event frame to expand quite significantly.

Although our mind and body slows down in the process of relaxation which speeds up the perception to time, being connected to nature greatly offsets this effect. Being is a stressfuly state increases processing speed, which in turn slows down time. Yet, the total event frames that we experience in a lifespan will shorten due to an acceleration of aging. Enjoying the simple moments leads to a fullfulling life.