Time is in the mind


Registered Member
Any people want to throw any ideas forwards regarding how the mind changes the perception of time (in both directions). How can we "trick" the mind into thinking more/less time has passed than actually has?

Open ended question which will help my research into my final Architecture degree project.

Will Jeninngs
Greenwich, England
Oh, yes - marijuana definitely will have an effect on the perception of time - so would any anasthesia. Normally functioning brain might have a real time clock built in that is more of a counter than clock. So you have to relate the counter to external time to interface with the world.

So, actually the time may be a physiological phenomena....
Forget marijuana! try a pc game - The Sims. I once sat to it at AM and when again looked to the time, it showed PM 6. And I immediately suffered tht I have wasted my all day in such nonsense. And I can say surely, tht I didn't feel the time pass by, I even didn't eator drink, or think of it. It felt like yust half-an-hour.

Want more time-no prob. Try to sit at some really boring subject at school, then you would not wait for the end of it; if the lesson is entertaning, then it passes as some 15 minutes.

But could we trick the mind to tht state tht our cells, would think tht 20 real years are yust 2 years. If so then we could easely live up to 200 years and more if we compress our inside time even more.
Nice opportunity!

what about stimulating the senses, rather than blocking them off (ie, playing The Sims in a room all day blocks off the senses to the passage of time in the physical world (temperature, light, other people etc).

What about if we confuse the mind by randomly showing images from previous time in the day around the person. By this i mean record them doing various things regularly during the day, and then project these into the person's real time later on, maybe confusing the perception of the passage of time that has flowed between the moments. Disorientation.

Picking up where Jeggs left off... Yes, research the effect of being surrounded by incorrect clocks. If you glance at a clock and the time is wrong (and we aren't aware of this error), often our mind will adjust to believing the incorrect time... contrary to whatever "internal" clock we have ticking away. This suggests that our internal clock is either only a backup to our conscious awareness of time, or is "reset" to the current time when we see the clock--even if it is an erroneous one.
It's a Zen question actually. Like this:

If no sentient beings existed, would time exist?

It also follows some of the boggling problems with particle phsyics: how small of a unit can you get to? Does it ever stop, or are molecules made up of an infinite number of smaller molecules?

Similarly, what is the smallest unit of time? It's easy to say a "moment," but can you quantify that? Our time is also based off of something--the Earth's rotation and revolution around the sun--so does that mean that we invented the idea? If Earth were in a static state, meaning it did not revolve around the Sun or rotate on its axis, would we have come up with hours, minutes and seconds? Probably, but not in the same form. We'd have invent their quantity with relation to something else, say the decay rate of a Hydrogen atom, etc.

Really, I think that all Time is right now is an idea. But that's my HMO, so if someone's got some good info to change that, by all means post!

I think you're taking this thread off-track a bit, V... hehe But your comments are addressed in another thread, where I've already responded - a few weeks ahead of you! :) What is "Time" made of?
I noticed that at the start of this thread there was a mention of the use of drugs and the perception of time.

In the case of Marijuana, THC triggers the brain to produce more Dopamine. Dopamine is a signal carrier within the neural clusters, a bit like a relay runner carrying small packets of information through brain cell stimulation across the brain.

The more dopamine within the brain, the more activity for a high number of protein receptors. It basically means that your brain begins to Overclock.
(In fact certain "FORS" that were used in the defence of Marijuana, were due to effects like Muscle relaxing and helping people with problems like authritis. In regard to that I realised that some people suffer from a lessening of functioning protein receptors and the increase in dopamine actually increased the chances of receptors being used. Thus aiding them with relief.)

During a process of overclocking, or indeed just being busy, you no longer process time the same because of your activities. When you might sit bored waiting for a bus, you might not be completely active (Namely your just thinking of the bus arriving and boredom can cause a dosing of Serotonin. Even a yawn can cause chemical concoctions to occur.)

Of course once your on the bus you let your mind wonder as the bordem of the journey is just so boring. So you sit and think of what you are doing that day, what your going to eat at lunch time, do you need a haircut. Suddenly you've arrived, again you've missed time due to a replacement of your active thought processes "Daydreaming".

to overview this fully, depending on how awake you are, how much available energy you have and what you are concentrating can cause you to see time differently. Drink enough coffee and the moments don't move fast enough, but add liquor to the coffee and when you get drunk, hours glide past.
Jeggs ...

First off ... Welcome to Sciforums.

Re. "How can we 'trick' the mind into thinking more/less time has passed than
actually has?"

Don't know about 'tricking the mind' or about 'less time' but have experienced
on a number of occassions what I've come to refer to as hypo-time: When
time seems to slow down and you are totally aware of everything that is
happening and can respond to the situation in a way that maximizes your
chance of survival. Have experienced it while skiing, driving (both two and four
wheeled vehicles) and a few other times when I've been in life threatening
situations (due, in most cases, to my stupidity: exceeding the limit of control).

Ex. Unexpectedly parting company with a motorcycle at ninety-plus mph
due to a high speed wobble.

Just chalked it up to the brain going into overdrive, so to speak.
...Just chalked it up to the brain going into overdrive,...

But perhaps to the brain paralytically crying out for undue, self-reinforcing, conditional invulnerability?
Nix, Mr. G ...

Too much 'survival' action taken:

1) Attempted to lift front end with torque;

2) Kicked away from machine as we were sliding along;

3) Assumed a squat position while sliding;

4) Went into tuck-and-roll as approaching shoulder of road;

5) Not quickly enough, felt right arm flail (broke wrist);

6) Freed myself from snow fence that stopped me;

7) Realized wrist was more than 'sprained' when went to lift cycle.

The above and other, similar, situations immediately became detailed,
'long term' memories.
i think that time is "relative" in that sense that it is only a feeling, similar to the feeling/awareness of "love", or peace or sometin' like that

this means that we will experience different rates of "timeflow" (which is really just a feeling) when we have different kinds of moods/or when we're in particular state of being

this also means that there is not a "standard" flow of time to which to compare to
all these different timeflow feelings are entirely subjective and individual

we usually think of time as a condition for motion
no time => no motion

but what if motion is primary?

there's always motion
even if the earth stops rotating and stops revolving around the sun, the galaxy is still moving
and if all the galaxies etc. have also stopped moving, then there will still be motion of subatomic particles

motion is everything, time is what we feel
motion is primary
clocks that go faster at high speeds have an increase in kinetic energy
their motion is going faster, not time
'cause time is what we feel

take drugs and you'll be in a different state of being
become sad, or cheer up, having fun at school or lying sick in bed
it's always yourself that dictates the timeflow feeling

when I'm studying during the night for my exams (like last night, and basically already every night these exams; pffffff), time flies by, "i gotta hurry" is the only thing i think
"morning is coming up!"
"5 'o clock ...... gotta sleep at least one hour ......."
"trrrrring!!!!!!! ......... the hour seems to have last a second."

damn you stupid timeflows :bugeye:
damn you never stoping motion

but did a good exam today :cool:
feelin' kind of cool

my timeflow is going fast right now
gotta go do sometin' borring, need to slow it down :D :D
Prolongation [of shiny knowledge]

wasn't expecting so much discussion, cheers.

I am also looking into using philosophical ideas, as well as mathematical physics. Anyone have any idea whereabouts/with whom I may find information?

My project is a bit like a mobius strip with a window cut into the surface. The journey takes you along the surface, but you are able to poke your head through the hole to see into the space that you had previously inhabited.

also thinking Reimann's Cuts.
time is the duration of , life in a sense, day to day , or passing of event to event , time has never been as fixxed as it is now , , or at least to be as acarate as it is now , the old caleners based on the moon , would make time in longer duration'd of the month go by faster. given only 29 days instead the average 31- 30 now.

and times definition is stupid.

i bring this question , if their was no life, would their be time?

kinda runs the line of if a tree falls in the forest and no ones there to hear it does it make a sound?
Hi Jeggs,

For the philosophical reading, you might want to check out the following. I am not sure that they deal specificly on how to trick the mind, but are more related to the discussion on how space and time are perceived by the mind (quoting my course on science philosophy here actually ;))

- Emmanual Kant: in contrast with scientists in his time believed it was the brain that perceived space and time as they were (the scientists thought the structure of space and time were aspects of the nature, Kant argued that it was only the brain that perceived it that way).

- Poincaré's conventionalism: on how the structure of space and time is defined within a society (of scientists).

Hope this sets you into the good direction,


a rather strange deminson

Concider this

How can we 'trick' the mind into thinking more/less time has passed than
actually has?"

IN Geogre Orwells book '1984'

The main charater WInston i think is caputred and put into a room with no external stimulis. Thus he was un aware of any time passage, where he was, or even weither it was night or day.

I also think that there was an experiment almost like this done a while ago where some lady volentuired to to isolated in a cave thing for a month, or something. She would sleep for days on end, and then be awake for 3 to 4 days befor she went to sleep. There was no real pattern.

Rather Strange
Think about time in the mind like this.

If you were locked in a completely dark room for a year, would you come out knowing whether it was night or day? Would you know what time of the day it is? Or think of dyslexics, who have zero concept of time of day?

Time is a concept learned from birth onward. We learn to comprehend measurments and passing of time. If you locked a baby in a dark room and over time told it of time and passing of time it would still not understand as it never experiences the differential in time passing.