The cover of the issue teases the reader with the title "The time machine inside your head." The actual title of the article is "An odd sense of timing" by Pascal Wallisch (currently located as a Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU/CNS).
In general, given the page-length constraints of these popular press type of articles, this is a well-written article. As is the case with most articles that attempt to cut a wide swath in the coverage of a wide and deep field of research and theorization, it has a number of strengths and limitations. The author correctly points out the fact that many questions still remain unanswered regarding the neuro-cognitive mechanisms involved in human temporal processing.
The regular reader of the IQ Brain Clock understands that human time perception covers a broad array of timing behaviors that have been ordered on the order of 10-12 scales of magnitude (click here for prior post). Although not made explicit to the reader, the authors discussion of the precision of timing involved in the brains coordination of motor control/timing is referencing the mental timing system operating at the second and millsecond levels. A quick transition (in the article) is then made to the top end of the end of human timing systems, namely the circadian system that regulates sleep and wake cycles. Potentially lost in this transition is the important understanding that human beings have a wide range of behaviors that are governed by multiple systems of timing, each operating on a different range of time.
On the positive side, the author does touch on some of the key brain areas involved in the processing of time at the second and millisecond levels (the key focus of this blog), temporal processing important to intellectual performance (see prior posts regarding temporal g). Correct mention is made of the importance of the the basal ganglia, striatum, cerebullum, and frontal lobes (the prefrontal cortex/lobes should have received more mention..but I'm probably being a bit picky). The author makes use of two common metaphors used to explain the IQ brain clock, namely, the synchrony involved in the performance of a symphony orchestra (see "Brain Clock IM 2007 Keynote" PPT slides, located on the right side of the home blog page, for the use of this analogy in some of my attempts to explain mental timing) and the "beat of a metronome" to represent the "salvo of nerve cell impulses in the brain" that are "counted" by the brain to represent time.
A significant portion of the article, and probably the material of most popular interest, is the coverage of the subjective perception of time. That is, why, under different circumstances, does time seem to "fly" while in other circumstances time seems to "stand still." Readers who want more information should check check out a prior post re: temporal awareness.
Bottom line - I'm pleased to see the increased recognition of the internal brain clock in more mainstream media. Understanding human temporal processing, IMHO, has the potential to help us better understand a range of important intellectual behaviors and, more importantly, has the potential to produce neuro-cognitive based IQ Brain Clock "fine tunning" interventions that may improve intellectual and academic performance.
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