Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our Perception of Time

    We hear sounds, see colors, and feel textures. Some aspects of the world, it seems, are perceived through a certain sense. Others, like shape, are perceived through more than one sense. But what sense or senses do we use when perceiving time? It is not associated with one particular sense. It seems odd to say that we see, hear or touch time passing. In seeing the different aspects of time perception, we make use of different approaches to have a similar objective in the world: the past, change, and the passage of time.
     Time can be perceived in various ways. For shorter time periods we use a mental clock. But we are more complicated than that. Humans can make judgments of time based on outside influences. For example, we can use distance to calculate the time that we would take to go somewhere. Therefore, the answer depends on what kind of time we are talking about. To fully understand you need to distinguish between what is called prospective and retrospective time. Prospective time is when people know they have to time something. Then retrospective time is when you have to guess the time that has passed. For example, if someone asks you: “how long has been since this interview started?” No one can know exactly, but they can use their memory, and the number of things that have happened to make an educated guess on the elapsed time. Humans in real life do this kind of timing quite a lot. 

As Bill Gates said, "My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."

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