Time perception

A contemporary quartz watch

Time perception is a field of study within psychology, cognitive linguistics[1] and neuroscience that refers to the subjective experience, or sense, of time, which is measured by someone's own perception of the duration of the indefinite and unfolding of events. The perceived time interval between two successive events is referred to as perceived duration. Though directly experiencing or understanding another person's perception of time is not possible, such a perception can be objectively studied and inferred through a number of scientific experiments. Time perception is a construction of the sapient brain, but one that is manipulable and distortable under certain circumstances. These temporal illusions help to expose the underlying neural mechanisms of time perception.

Pioneering work, emphasizing species-specific differences, was conducted by Karl Ernst von Baer.[2]

In other words time can be perceived or understood as Subjective Time & Objective Time.


William J. Friedman (1993) also contrasted two theories for a sense of time:[3][4][5]

  • The strength model of time memory. This posits a memory trace that persists over time, by which one might judge the age of a memory (and therefore how long ago the event remembered occurred) from the strength of the trace. This conflicts with the fact that memories of recent events may fade more quickly than more distant memories.
  • The inference model suggests the time of an event is inferred from information about relations between the event in question and other events whose date or time is known.

Another theory involves the brain's subconscious tallying of "pulses" during a specific interval, forming a biological stopwatch. This theory alleges that the brain can run multiple biological stopwatches at one time depending on the type of task one is involved in. The location of these pulses and what these pulses actually consist of is unclear.[6] This model is only a metaphor and does not stand up in terms of brain physiology or anatomy.[7]

Other Languages
العربية: إدراك الزمن
한국어: 시간 지각
עברית: תפיסת זמן
Nederlands: Tijdsperceptie
日本語: 時間知覚
українська: Сприйняття часу
中文: 時間知覺