How to understand the time and its perception

Time flies when we’re having fun. It drags when we’re bored. Sometimes it’s on our side; other times it’s racing against us. The phenomenon of time has always concerned philosophers, astronomers, physicists, psychologists, or neuroscientists. The study of time perception integrates research, mixing linguistics, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and attention research to explore the ways people feel the minutes and hours pass.

According to Kant, the sense of time co-constitutes our subjectivity [Kant, 1781] and it is related to our conscience. Time also allows us to structure events, what we call the structure of time, to differentiate memory (past), from sensory experiences (present) to prepare goal-directed actions (future). The capacity to adequately experience the passage of time and structure of time co-constitutes subjective phenomenal consciousness, together with embodiment and interpersonal communication. 

The value of time perception

The sense of time is essential for the well-being of the person and is key to their adaptation.

Scientific research has shown that the sense of time and the structure of time can be distorted with psychopathological conditions. Depression, Schizophrenia, Autism spectrum disorder, ASD are conditions that involve time experience. People affected by psychopathological conditions may feel distortions as slow down or acceleration in the sense of time; or asynchronies and changes in the temporal order in what concerns the structure of time.

Re-experience the sense of time

VIRTUALTIMES is a research project in collaboration with Psious that aims to provide the opportunity to re-experience and normalize variant and distorted sense of time. Thanks to the use of the technology, VIRTUALTIMES will not only foster the development of time-sensitive neuroadaptive VR-based interventions building upon a game scenario in the field of mental health and well-being, but will also lead to a new fundamental understanding of time with respect to the passage of time and structure of time in relation to the physical and social context in which time is experienced. As such, VIRTUALTIMES will have an enormous impact on “quality of life” and “therapy”.

If you want to know more about the sense of time in psychopathology, we share with you this webinar presented by Dr. Kai Vogeley, Dr David Vogel, and Dr Anne Giersch.

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