Yesterday I went to hear a symposium titled "the science of mental time".
It was held by members of newly assembled research project under government funding, which aims to tackle the problem of how time is processed in our minds.

The project intends to integrate researchers from various fields, such as neuroscience, psychology, medicine, linguistics and philosophy. During the five year period, each member will contribute with their own observations and experiments, as essential pieces to draw the big picture.

Hearing yesterday’s talks, I got the impression that the main stream approach to the mystery of mental time seems to be through investigating illusionary phenomena that involve time. In the lectures, several illusions were introduced where the order of events (ex. movement of objects on a screen) are reversed in the mental time. Another example was the phenomenon in which events that happens afterwards affects (changes) the perception the events that happened before hand (such mental processing is called “postdiction”). These are the most obvious evidences that physical time and mental time is different, and such psycho-physical experiments when they are cleverly designed tells us a lot about how time is processed in our minds.

At first, a question like "what is time (to our mind)?" seemed too ambitious (one of the speakers favored the term "grandiose") to consider as a proper research topic. However, my impression was that now scientists are starting to get a fair grip.

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