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Still Waters

Consciousness occurs in 'time slices'

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Still Waters

The question of how exactly we experience the world through our perception of consciousness is one that's long intrigued scientists and philosophers. And at its core are two divergent hypotheses.

On the one hand, it could be that consciousness exists as a constant, uninterrupted stream of perception, like how it feels to watch a movie. You sit down with your popcorn and experience a film from beginning to end in one continuous flow, unaware of any segmentation or breakup as you go.

But another hypothesis of consciousness reflects what a film technically is: a series of individual frames of time stitched together into a reel that - when played back - appear seamless. So which is it?

http://www.scienceal...-study-suggests

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AZDZ

The latter.

I don't even see how it could be the former. We don't do the exact same thing all of our lives. Right now I am doing something different from an hour ago. An hour from now I will be doing something different from now.

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danielost

we humans do the first one. god has the whole film layed out in front of him and he can see the fim at one time. picking what ever frame he wants to look at.

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HDesiato

The study suggests it is a combination of the two.

Taking into account the subjective nature of perception and the varying degrees of cognitive function within the 7 billion+ population, it's a tall order to arrive at a general consensus.

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StarMountainKid

Sounds reasonable to me. The brain has to have some time to process all this information its receiving. I'm wondering if this determines the perceived rate of time elapsing. For instance, if these time slices took longer for the brain to process, everything would be moving slower, but we would perceive this as normal.

Would this slower perception alter our conceptions of physics? A bowling ball would be perceived to take longer to fall, thus altering our perception of the strength of gravity. (?)

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barbco196

Sounds reasonable to me. The brain has to have some time to process all this information its receiving. I'm wondering if this determines the perceived rate of time elapsing. For instance, if these time slices took longer for the brain to process, everything would be moving slower, but we would perceive this as normal.

Would this slower perception alter our conceptions of physics? A bowling ball would be perceived to take longer to fall, thus altering our perception of the strength of gravity. (?)

Interesting thought. Maybe that's the reason people report time moving slower in an accident; the brain is taking longer to process all the stimuli.

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StarMountainKid
Interesting thought. Maybe that's the reason people report time moving slower in an accident; the brain is taking longer to process all the stimuli.

Could be. As you say, in an accident everything is happening so fast the brain has to slow time to understand what's happening. I've noticed when things happen too fast, it's like a blank space, time-wise. The brain can't keep up, so it ignores that time slice.

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MJNYC

Could be. As you say, in an accident everything is happening so fast the brain has to slow time to understand what's happening. I've noticed when things happen too fast, it's like a blank space, time-wise. The brain can't keep up, so it ignores that time slice.

On August 31 last year, I had an accident and broke my shoulder. I was horseback riding and the horse spooked. I've been riding all of my life so it's not like this was something new to do or something I was worried about.

I was very relaxed (as it turns out too relaxed!) and I still to this day, cannot see what the horse did to get me off. I remember asking him to trot and the next thing I remember is flying through the air and landing on my shoulder. The seconds that he would have done something where I was unseated is blank. It's like a black hole in my mind.

I try and try but I cannot see it. I can only surmise from where he was and where I was on the ground of what happened and that was that he sidestepped left really fast.

Very interesting article.

:tu:

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regeneratia

I still think the constant stream theory is most accurate. It is the recalling process that separates and places experiences into hunks of time because we are looking for landmark memories of a specific time. Maybe we need to start breaking down consciousness into specific stages.

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StarMountainKid
I still think the constant stream theory is most accurate. It is the recalling process that separates and places experiences into hunks of time because we are looking for landmark memories of a specific time. Maybe we need to start breaking down consciousness into specific stages.

I wonder where present experience stops and memory begins. Maybe the present is memory, too, in a sense. We're always slightly behind in time. Some senses are processed in the brain faster than others. So we are aware of certain stimuli before they are processed into consciousness. The brain slows down these faster inputs to coordinate them with slower processed stimuli, so everything seems to happen at the same instant.

Maybe we are remembering the present, as it takes a few milliseconds to process experience. Just a thought.

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paperdyer

Interesting subject, but should scientists be looking at things like feeding the world, fighting diseases and climate control? Does it really matter how our minds process the day to day things we do or whether or not we are holograms. Then again, if we are holograms.one of this matters, so go for it!

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Xeno-Fish

Interesting subject, but should scientists be looking at things like feeding the world, fighting diseases and climate control? Does it really matter how our minds process the day to day things we do or whether or not we are holograms. Then again, if we are holograms.one of this matters, so go for it!

Feeding the world is actually very easy, that is if people grew their own food. They already fight disease, and we have climate control. It's called an AC unit. It matter very much how our brains work, the more we understand about ourselves the better.

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Leonardo

Sounds reasonable to me. The brain has to have some time to process all this information its receiving. I'm wondering if this determines the perceived rate of time elapsing. For instance, if these time slices took longer for the brain to process, everything would be moving slower, but we would perceive this as normal.

Would this slower perception alter our conceptions of physics? A bowling ball would be perceived to take longer to fall, thus altering our perception of the strength of gravity. (?)

The same result could be achieved via buffering, rather than "slicing" the input - in fact, buffering would be more effective and a simpler solution. I don't find much merit in presuming the brain has to "slice" the sensory input received in order for it to be unconfusing.

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Emma_Acid

Interesting subject, but should scientists be looking at things like feeding the world, fighting diseases and climate control?

That isn't how science works. You don't pick and choose bits you think are important. Science is cumulative, and always results in unexpected benefits.

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danielost

That isn't how science works. You don't pick and choose bits you think are important. Science is cumulative, and always results in unexpected benefits.

what unexpected benefits did we get from theory of gravity.

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Cookie Monster

The question of how exactly we experience the world through our perception of consciousness is one that's long intrigued scientists and philosophers. And at its core are two divergent hypotheses.

On the one hand, it could be that consciousness exists as a constant, uninterrupted stream of perception, like how it feels to watch a movie. You sit down with your popcorn and experience a film from beginning to end in one continuous flow, unaware of any segmentation or breakup as you go.

But another hypothesis of consciousness reflects what a film technically is: a series of individual frames of time stitched together into a reel that - when played back - appear seamless. So which is it?

http://www.scienceal...-study-suggests

There are simple experiments you can do using a clock:

1. Place the clock near you.

2. Distract your attention away from it by focusing onto something else.

3. As soon as you get absorbed into that other thing then turn back to the clock.

4. Focus your attention onto the seconds hand.

When you do the above you frequently catch the seconds hand momentarily doing something weird (like being frozen, doing a tick backwards, jumping forwards more than one tick, or even pointing to more than one spot at the same time). Things then quickly proceed as normal.

Scientists reason that while the above is experienced it must be caused by errors in the way the brain processes information on its external environment. Faced with a new situation it has to first find its footing and the weird experiences with the seconds hand occur during this time. However, it should be pointed out that this is an opinion about what must be going on not a proven fact. Maybe the position of the second hand is determined by the act of consciousness? Maybe the brain has to set it where it fits? And maybe while it figures out where is best to be coherent with your experiences of reality it alters where it is up to in time causing the weird effects with the second hand?

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Aitrui

Perhaps we percieve each 400 m/s 'time slice' (or packet) as a period of time, shorter or longer depending on whether it is [50+50+50+50+50+50+50+50] m/s or [8*50] m/s? It could even be somewhere in between as [50+50+(3*50)+(2*50)]. A deep train of thought often leaves you wondering how something like your toast popping sneaks up faster than you expected. If you are thinking in packets of 8*50m/s rather than in 'pieces of eight'*50m/s then 1/8 the of amount of perceivable time is actually experienced consciously before the toast pops, time appears to have disappeared (and in a way it has!).

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lightly

I've always wondered about time, and how long "now" is. If time and space are locked together in what is called space/time... then does space occur , or re-occur in "slices" too? ..and what of the quantum "stuff" space is now known to be composed of?

I'll expect a complete, but simple, explanation when i return. ;

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Leonardo

I've always wondered about time, and how long "now" is. If time and space are locked together in what is called space/time... then does space occur , or re-occur in "slices" too? ..and what of the quantum "stuff" space is now known to be composed of?

I'll expect a complete, but simple, explanation when i return. ;

The questions resulting from a quantised spacetime are meaningful in the context of science (and mathematics), but are meaningless in the context of consciousness and existence (and so, what this thread is about) because there can be, by the very nature of the concepts, no "gap" between the units of space or time - therefore the conscious perception of a quantised spacetime is exactly the same as that of a contiguous spacetime.

Edited by Leonardo
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paperdyer

That isn't how science works. You don't pick and choose bits you think are important. Science is cumulative, and always results in unexpected benefits.

You don't? Someone had to be interested enough in the subject to work on the theory. Someone else had to fund it. Now finding/inventing Mauve while trying to make synthetic quinine is a hidden benefit. Finding anything by serendipity can be a benefit. I still don't see the benefit in this work unless it leads to time travel of some sort.

In the end, your perception is your reality. Whether your reality intercepts with the majority of people on the planet makes the world go around and whether or not you are deemed a genius, normal or insane..

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StarMountainKid
I've always wondered about time, and how long "now" is. If time and space are locked together in what is called space/time... then does space occur , or re-occur in "slices" too? ..and what of the quantum "stuff" space is now known to be composed of?

I'll expect a complete, but simple, explanation when i return.

lol All I know is the quantum of space is supposed to be called a spacion or something and the quantum of time is supposed to be called the chronon or something. Planck length is 1.6x10^35m and Planck time is 5.4x10^-44sec.

I think space, time and gravity must be quantized, as everything else is.

I would say how long "now" lasts for us depends on the rate at which the brain can process information. If it's a few milliseconds, then for our consciousness "now" would appear to be continuous. In that sense, there would be no "how long is now", in consciousness, "now" is a continuous flow like the flow of a river.

If we consider space-time, every separate quantized configuration of space-time occurs like the frames of a movie film. I would think the reality of the Planck scale requires this. What separates the frames is space-time jumping ahead at Planck scale intervals. They would be space-time slices.

Just my thoughts about this stuff.

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Grandpa Greenman

what unexpected benefits did we get from theory of gravity.

Gravity boost for spacecraft for one. It also helps tracking those pesky near earth crossing objects and someday we my actually need to defect one.

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pallidin

Well, I've read the article, these posts, and will give my very poor 2 cents worth of opinion...

My understanding is that, biologically, we actually process perception not in the current, rather "in the very near past"

Look at yourself in a mirror, or even at another person or object... There is a delay that seems both imperceptible and inconsequential, because in most cases it is. Yet the delay is there.

I guess I don't know what to make of all this.

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danielost

Gravity boost for spacecraft for one. It also helps tracking those pesky near earth crossing objects and someday we my actually need to defect one.

I said unexpected. newton knew about gravity boost. from the apple that supposedly hit him.

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Emma_Acid

what unexpected benefits did we get from theory of gravity.

Jesus, really??

You don't? Someone had to be interested enough in the subject to work on the theory. Someone else had to fund it. Now finding/inventing Mauve while trying to make synthetic quinine is a hidden benefit. Finding anything by serendipity can be a benefit. I still don't see the benefit in this work unless it leads to time travel of some sort.

Thankfully the scientific world cares not a toss whether you personally see the benefit in something. This is how science works. You don't say "lets research x because in 100 years time we might discover y". Science as a method would have never got off the starting block, and we'd still be living in mud huts.

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