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Even in the presence of timepieces, different individuals may judge an identical length of time to be passing at different rates.[citation needed] Commonly, this is referred to as time seeming to "fly" (a period of time seeming to pass faster than possible) or time seeming to "drag" (a period of time seeming to pass slower than possible). The psychologist Jean Piaget called this form of time perception "lived time."[citation needed]

A form of temporal illusion verifiable by experiment is the kappa effect,[1] where the interval between two events is perceived differently by different observers.

Time also appears to pass more quickly as one gets older. Stephen Hawking suggests that the perception of time is a ratio: Unit of Time : Time Lived.[How to reference and link to summary or text] For example, one hour to a six-month-old person would be approximately "1:4032", while one hour to a 40-year-old would be "1:349,440". Therefore an hour appears much longer to a young child than to an aged adult, even though the measure of time is equal.

Time in altered states of consciousness

Altered states of consciousness are sometimes characterized by a different estimation of time. Some psychoactive substances – such as entheogens – may also dramatically alter a person's temporal judgement. When viewed under the influence of such substances as LSD, psychedelic mushrooms and peyote, a clock may appear to be a strange reference point and a useless tool for measuring the passage of events as it does not correlate with the user's experience. At higher doses, time may appear to slow down, stop, speed up, go backwards and even seem out of sequence. A typical thought might be "I can't believe it's only 8 o'clock, but then again, what does 8 o'clock mean?" As the boundaries for experiencing time are removed, so is its relevance. Many users claim this unbounded timelessness feels like a glimpse into spiritual infinity. To imagine that one exists somewhere "outside" of time is one of the hallmark experiences of a psychedelic voyage.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Marijuana, a milder psychedelic, may also distort the perception of time to a lesser degree.[2]

The practice of meditation, central to all Buddhist traditions, takes as its goal the reflection of the mind back upon itself, thus altering the subjective experience of time; the so called, 'entering the now', or 'the moment'.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Culture

Culture is another variable contributing to the perception of time. Anthropologist Benjamin Lee Whorf reported after studying the Hopi cultures that: "… the Hopi language is seen to contain no words, grammatical forms, construction or expressions or that refer directly to what we call “time”, or to past, present, or future…"[3] Whorf's assertion has been challenged and modified. Pinker debunks Whorf's claims about time in the Hopi language, pointing out that the anthropologist Malotki (1983) has found that the Hopi do have a concept of time very similar to that of other cultures; they have units of time, and a sophisticated calendar.[4]

See also

References

  1. Wada Y, Masuda T, Noguchi K, 2005, "Temporal illusion called 'kappa effect' in event perception" Perception 34 ECVP Abstract Supplement
  2. Cannabis Effects. Erowid. URL accessed on 2008-02-15.
  3. Carroll, John B. (ed.)(1956). Language Thought and Reality. Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. MIT Press, Boston, Massachusetts. ISBN 0262730065 9780262730068
  4. Parr-Davies, Neil (April 2001), The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: A Critique, Aberystwyth University, http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/njp0001.html, retrieved on 2008-02-02 

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