Monday, October 01, 2007

Time Doc Byte #2: Importance of the brain clock

Here is my second Time Doc Byte. Category - "importance" of the human brain clock and mental time-keeping. This time quotes from Lewis and Walsh (2005; see "Components of the brain's clock" in the Key Research Articles section.) Emphasis added by the Time Doc blogmaster.

Clearly Dr. Lewis et al believe that some kind of internal brain clock exists, but our understanding how it works, the brain mechanisms involved, etc., is still in a stage of formative development.
  • We know the human brain contains some kind of clock, but determining its neural underpinnings and teasing apart its components have proven difficult.
  • The holy grail of timing research is to understand the ‘time-dependent process’: a mechanism equivalent to a piezoelectric crystal in a man-made clock or the movement of a shadow on a sundial. This has proven an elusive goal, to the extent that ideas about how this mechanism might work remain near the level of conjecture. Researchers have had great difficulty in pinning timing-related activity in the brain to any specific type of function. This is largely because most time measurement tasks draw upon more than one process, making it difficult to tease the various components apart.

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