Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time on the Brain

Scientific American reviews some of the most recent research on how people perceive (and misperceive) time. Here's a sample:
A fish’s reach does not exceed its grasp. For land animals, though, things are quite different: their sensory volume is much bigger than their motor volume, since light travels much farther in air than in seawater. So when our ancestors crawled out of the sea, they gained the opportunity to plan their behavior in advance. No longer restricted to reacting to immediate stimuli, they had time to take in the scene and deliberate before moving.... MacIver speculated that this set the stage for the evolution of consciousness. After all, what is consciousness, but the ability to make plans and gain some advantage over our environment?


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