Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New brain fitness links added to blogroll

I've just added two new brain fitness URL's to the Tick Tock IQ Brain Clock blogroll. Both were mentioned in the NY Times article I mentioned in my last post (Random tidbits......)

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Random tidbits from mind blogsphere 12-27-06

  • Thanks to Boing Boing for the interesting post regarding "knitting and mathematics."
  • The brain fitness movement (with regard to late adulthood) made a splash on the New York Times today.
  • More on Go (olfactory) abilities over on the Gene Expression blog. Check out prior Go posts I've made.
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Friday, December 22, 2006

Cerebellum and dyslexia controversy

As noted in a prior post, there has been a recent firestorm surrounding the controversial Dore Achievement Centers cerebellum-based treatment approach to severe reading disabilities (dyslexia). The Myomancy blog has been particularly prominent in covering the controversy and issues surrounding the cerebellum-based Dore Achievement Centers treatment. Given the role of the cerebellum in certain forms of mental/interval time-keeping, I find this controversy and surrounding research of interest.

The mental/interval time-keeping research has implicated the cerebellum in behaviors that operate at the millisecond range of time keeping, but not at the interval levels. I think this point may be relevant to the whole Dore controversy. As summarized previously, more complex cognitive behaviors (e.g., reading) most likely involve both the millisecond and interval level time-keeping systems. The interval level system appears to be important for such cognitive abilities as working memory and executive function, higher-level cognitive functions important for intelligence and achievement.

Thus, if a treatment for dyslexia is based ONLY on the millisecond system (primarily the cerebellum), it is not surprising that there is controversy. Such a brain-based treatment may only be focusing on one brain-related component for reading....while ignoring others (cognitive abilities and functions more dependent on the interval timing system).

This hypothesis is supported by a recent meta-analysis re: the role of impaired balance (due to the cerebellum) and developmental dyslexia. The reference and abstract (and URL link) are provided below. Bottom line--according to this meta-analysis and the mental/interval time-keeping research presented previously at this blog---a treatment focused only on the functions/abilities mediated by the cerebellum is likely only touching on a small portion of the complex set of abilities involved in reading. Brain-based treatments for reading (and other academics) most likely need to also include activities that address cognitive abilities mediated by cognitively controlled interval time-keeping brain mechanisms. I believe the article speaks for itself (although I have added emphasis via italics).
  • Rochell, K. & Talcott, J. (2006). Impaired balance in developmental dyslexia? A meta-analysis of the contending evidence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(11), 1159–1166 (click here to view)

  • Background: Developmental dyslexia is typically defined by deficits in phonological skills, but it is also associated with anomalous performance on measures of balance. Although balance assessments are included in several screening batteries for dyslexia, the association between impairments in literacy and deficits in postural stability could be due to the high co-occurrence of dyslexia with other developmental disorders in which impairments of motor behaviour are also prevalent. Methods: We identified 17 published studies that compared balance function between dyslexia and control samples and obtained effect-sizes for each. Contrast and association analyses were used to quantify the influence of hypothesised moderator variables on differences in effects across studies. Results: The mean effect-size of the balance deficit in dyslexia was .64 (95% CI ¼ .44–.78) with heterogeneous findings across the population of studies. Probable co-occurrence of other developmental disorders and variability in intelligence scores in the dyslexia samples were the strongest moderator variables of effect-size. Conclusions: Balance deficits are associated with dyslexia, but these effects are apparently more strongly related to third variables other than to reading ability. Deficits of balance may indicate increased risk of developmental disorder, but are unlikely to be uniquely associated with dyslexia. Keywords: Meta-analysis, dyslexia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, balance, postural stability. Abbreviations: ADHD: attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder; DCD: developmental coordination disorder; FSIQ: full-scale intelligence quotient.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Software automates access to brain atlases

Interesting story in Science Daily re: new software that automates access to brain atlases.

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Book review. Jensen's Clocking the Mind

The first available review that I've seen of Arthur Jensen's recent book, Clocking the Mind, has just been posted at the Developing Intelligence blog. Take a peak. I do know that formal journal published reviews of this work are in the works (click here).

McGovern Institute for Brain Research

FYI. Check out the The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT

As stated on the web page, this institute was "created at the start of this new century, with a mandate to use neuroscience to help people with brain disorders, and to ultimately benefit all of mankind by improving human communication and understanding."

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

CHC (Cattell-Horn-Carroll) listserv n=900+

I'm pleased to announce that the IAP-CHC listerv has recently surpassed the n=900+ membership threshold. Only approximately 100 more members and we shall reach a critical mass of n=1000. If you are a routine reader of IQs Corner Blog, you might want to join the CHC listserv in order to monitor/participate in ongoing CHC and intellectual assessment chatter.

Visit the link above to learn more about the CHC listerv. Below is a brief description.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

TMS device for depression

Thanks to Positive Technology Journal re: the post announcing that the FDA is considering the approval of a TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation) device to treat drepression.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mental time clock - fewer brain areas involved?

In prior posts re: mental/interval time-keeping, I have drawn on key neuroscience research articles regarding the potential brain areas/functions involved in the brain's master clock (this information was summarized in the "Interactive Metronome: Whats happening under the hood" on-line PPT slide show available on the right side of this blog) . This week I ran across a new fMRI study that questions the number and breadth of involvement of some of these key areas of the brain (viz., cerebullum, basal ganglia, frontal-striatal loop, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, parietal lobe) in mental time-keeping. Below is the article reference and abstract. I believe the article speaks for itself.

As with all science, this is one more bit of information that needs to be added to the extant research knowledge base. The preponderance of research to date suggests the involvement of the areas summarized above, but this new study needs to examined (and hopefully replicated) so that possible adjustments to current thinking can be modified as needed.

I've also placed this article in the the "key research articles" section of this blog.

Livesey, A., Wall, M. Smith, A. (2007). Time perception: Manipulation of task difficulty dissociates clock functions from other cognitive demands Neuropsychologia,45,321–331. (click here to view)

Abstract (italics added by blogmaster)
  • Previous studies suggest the involvement in timing functions of a surprisingly extensive network of human brain regions. But it is likely that while some of these regions play a fundamental role in timing, others are activated by associated task demands such as memory and decisionmaking. In two experiments, time perception (duration discrimination) was studied under two conditions of task difficulty and neural activation was compared using fMRI. Brain activation during duration discrimination was contrasted with activation evoked in a control condition (colour discrimination) that used identical stimuli. In the first experiment, the control task was slightly easier than the time task. Multiple brain areas were activated, in line with previous studies. These included the prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, inferior parietal lobule and striatum. In the second experiment, the control task was made more difficult than the time task. Much of the differential time-related activity seen in the first experiment disappeared and in some regions (inferior parietal cortex, pre-SMA and parts of prefrontal cortex) it reversed in polarity. This suggests that such activity is not specifically concerned with timing functions, but reflects the relative cognitive demands of the two tasks. However, three areas of time-related activation survived the task-difficulty manipulation: (i) a small region at the confluence of the inferior frontal gyrus and the anterior insula, bilaterally, (ii) a small portion of the left supramarginal gyrus and (iii) the putamen. We argue that the extent of the timing “network” has been significantly over-estimated in the past and that only these three relatively small regions can safely be regarded as being directly concerned with duration judgements.
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Monday, December 11, 2006

More on Go (olfactory abilities)

Thanks to Omni Brain for the FYI post regarding the "oflactometer" from the Berkely Olfactory Research Project (BORP). In prior posts I've highlighted emerging research that implicates Go (General olfactory abilities) as an important component of Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC theory of cognitive abilities).

Brain snow globe..I want

I wish I could figure out how to get one of these brain snow globes.

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Interesting/informative interview on Sharp Brains with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, a clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. Topics covered include neuroimaging, the frontal lobes and the executive functions, cognitive training and brain fitness programs, and emotions and art.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blog status - blogmaster has been recovering

Regular readers may have noticed a dip in my blog activity the past 1.5 weeks. As noted previously, I alerted readers to the fact that I was going to be "on the road again." That expected decrease in blog activity was extended for a longer period of time due to my involvement (as a passenger) in a car accident on 12-1-02.

Without getting into details, I've been dealing with some back, neck and shoulder pain and muscle problems this past week and have found it difficult to focus on work, partially due to the side effects of the pain medication and my increased need to sleep and rest. This weekend I believe I've rounded the corner with regard to the pain and my need for extra rest. I hope to gradually increase my blogging activity this week.

Thanks for your patience. The good news is that the hit counter for this humble blog has remained steady...which provides me the motivation to get back in the bloggin' saddle.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tech tidbit - interactive communication pillows

Thanks to Positive Technology for the interesting post regarding "interactive pillows" that are designed to "enhance long distance communication." Very cool. Not sure how I would use one, but being someone who lives on the bleeding edge of technology, I may need to add it to my XMAS list

Exec. Function and Clinical Neuropsych PPT

Chris Chatham, the author of the fantastic Developing Intelligence blog, has made available (in PPT or PDF format) a presentation he put together on clinical neuropsychology and executive function. Below is what Chris says about his presentation. His presentation can be downloaded for free from his site. Kudos to Chris.
  • This presention summarizes the essential findings from three studies on the clinical neuropsychology of executive function. It begins with a preface on the basic differences between cognitive neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology, then delving into the difficulties facing any attempt to use theories of executive dysfunction in clinical neuropsych (this section is based on the Royall et al paper)

  • The second half of the presentation deals with factor analyses of executive dysfunction among patients with traumatic brain injury, and ways in which patients with traumatic brain injury can be assessed and possibly rehabilitated.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On the road again

I'm on the road for business starting tomorrow (11-28-06) and will return late Friday (12-1-06). Blog posts may be minimal. I shall return.

Mental timing and reading ach study "in press"

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication in the journal Psychology in the Schools. Yes...I am a coauthor and readers should check out my prior conflict of interest disclosure notice regarding my involvement as an external consultant to Interactive Metronome.

I will post more information once the article is formally published.
  • Taub, G., McGrew, K. & Keith, T. (in press). Improvements in interval time tracking and effects on reading achievement. Psychology in the Schools.
  • This paper examines the effect of improvements in timing/rhythmicity on students’ reading achievement. A total of 86 participants, attending a public charter school receiving Title 1 funding, completed pre- and post-test measures of reading achievement from the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (Woodcock, McGrew, Mather, 2001), Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (Torgesen, Wagner, & Rashotte, 1999a), Test of Word Reading Efficiency (Torgesen, Wagner, & Rashotte, 1999b), and Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency (Mather, Hamil, Allen, & Roberts, 2004). Students in the experimental group participated in a 4 week intervention designed to improve their timing/rhythmicity by reducing the latency in their response to a synchronized metronome beat, referred to as a synchronized metronome tapping (SMT) intervention. The intervention required, on average, 15 daily 50 minute sessions. The results from this non-academic intervention indicate the experimental group’s post-test scores on select measures of reading were significantly higher than the non-treatment control group’s scores at the end of 4 weeks. This paper provides a brief overview of domain-general cognitive abilities believed effected by SMT interventions and provides a preliminary hypothesis to explain how a non-academic intervention designed to improve timing/rhythmicity can demonstrate a statistically significant effect on students’ reading achievement scores.
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Monday, November 27, 2006

Issue 12 of Synapse neuroscience carnival

Issue 12 of the Synapse, a neuroscience carnival, is now available via Dr. Deborah Serani's blog

Drug pillow presents: Just in time for XMAS

Thanks to Omni Brain for the FYI re: drug (e.g., zoloft, prozac) pillows. Just in time for XMAS shopping

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More on Dore firestorm

Thanks for Myomancy for the continuing coverage of the ongoing complaints and conflict of interest issues that have recently surfaced regarding the Dore cerebellum-based treatment program (click here for prior post and more information)

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cerebellum-based treatment program controversy

I've never done any reading or investigation of the Dore cerebellum-based treatment program for ADHD and dyslexia. Apparently the program, and the methods used to promote/sell it, are in the midst of some kind of controversy. I have little to add.

This is an FYI post to a story at the Myomancy blog, a blog that has posts with extensive links that one can follow to learn more about this brain-based treatment and surrounding issues and controversies.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Temporal "g" added to "key research articles"

I just added Rammsayer and Brandler's (in press; Intelligence) "Temporal g" article to the "Key Research Articles" section of this blog. That now makes three key mental or interval time-keeping articles listed as "key" to understanding this domain.

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Working memory and mental timing

I've previously attempted to summarize the gist of the conclusions of Dr. Penny Lewis (see "Mental timing scholars" section of the IQ Brain Clock) on the important association between mental/interval time-keeping and working memory. In addition, I recently posted a series of PowerPoint slides (see "On-line PPT slides" section of the IQ Brain Clock) where, if you take time to view the entire show, you will see that I've hypothesized that working memory (and other related neuropsychological constructs of executive function; controlled executive attention) most likely plays a prominent role in performance on SMT (synchronized metronome tapping) performance tasks, and, may be a causative factor in explaining the benefits of SMT-based training (e.g., Interactive Metronome).

Below are a few snipets from Dr. Lewis important paper ("Remembering the time: A continuous clock - a viewable copy is under the "Key research articles" section of this blog) that links working memory and the brain's master internal clock.
  • Behavioural evidence that working memory and time measurement draw upon the same cognitive resources stems from dual-task studies showing interference between these two types of processing. Both visuospatialand phonological working memory tasks disrupt timing, and the extent of such disruption has been shown to correlate with the extent of working memory load (e.g. number of items to be remembered, number of syllables to be rehearsed or degrees of mental rotation).
  • Turning to pharmacology, manipulations targeting working memory can also disrupt cognitive timing.
  • Additional evidence linking time perception to working memory stems from the observation that both are modulated by dopamine, a neurotransmitter which regulates activity throughout much of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex. The influence of prefrontal dopaminergic projections upon working memory is well documented
  • Because the basal ganglia are heavily innervated by dopamine, and because their function is severely disrupted in Parkinson’s disease, the influence of dopamine on subjective time measurement has typically been interpreted as support for the central role of these structures in timing.
  • Overall, the data on dopamine suggest a selective influence of prefrontal dopamine on more cognitive timing tasks, thus implying that this form of timing might be mediated via the same dopamine-sensitive processors as working memory.
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Interactive metronome and CAPD treatment

A little internet mouse alerted me to the following dissertation, a dissertation that investigated the effect of synchronized metronome tapping (SMT - using the Interactive Metronome protocol) on central auditory processing disorders (CAPD). This investigation must only be considered a small pilot/clinical trial given that only 8 subjects were treated. Replication in larger samples is needed.
  • The Effect of Interactive Metronome Training on Children’s SCAN-C Scores. Etra, Joel L., 2006: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Fischler School of Education and Human Services. Auditory Perception/Auditory Training/ Auditory Tests/Audiology. (click here for a copy I was able to secure)
  • In this study, the effect of Interactive Metronome, a treatment for attention deficit that requires the subject to match a computer generated rhythm, on auditory processing in male and female children ages nine to fourteen was investigated. Eight children were administered the SCAN-C and then were given the 15-hour Interactive Metronome training and administered the SCAN-C again. SCAN-C raw scores showed a significant increase (p = .002). SCAN-C subtests of dichotic listening showed greater improvements than the other subtests. It is suggested that Interactive Metronome may affect auditory processing disorders by influencing neurological organization. It was concluded that Interactive Metronome could be an effective treatment for disorders of auditory processing. Potential difficulties in the provision of Interactive Metronome were discussed. Additional research was suggested with larger and more diverse samples as well as different trainers. More research into the design of the Interactive Metronome training schedule was also suggested.

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Motor imagery and neurotechnologies

Plastinated brains

Thanks to Mind Hacks for the tip re: the Plastinated Brain website, which includes some amazing images of brain structures that have been preserved via plastination.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tech tidbit - WOW--I want this toy

Thanks to Mixing Memory for the link to a YouTube video that demonstrates a COOL new design drawing tool. I also want it for XMAS. I think it would be fun to use such a tool to design new forms of intelligence and achievement test items that include motion and movement.

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Mental timing interventions for sports

I just added a new feature to the IQ Brain Clock. On the right side of this blog is a new section called "Timing Interventions." In this section I'm going to provide links to any intervention programs I locate that implicitly or explicitly seem to be dealing with the brain's master internal clock (interval or mental time-keeping).

To date I am only aware of two such programs. One, which I've mentioned before is Interactive Metronome (please click here for a conflict of interest disclosure). The second, which is advertised as a separate product, is actually the IM program adapted for sports. In particular, IM has produced a product called the Groove, which is marketed as a method for improving golf performance. You can check out the claims and watch some videos at the Groove web page.

Also....while poking around the Groove web site I found a video (the ESPN Game Day icon/link on their page) that shows that the IM program was used to improve college football player performance at Notre Dame. Be aware, these are largely testimonials. When and if I can locate any actual empirical studies to support these claims, I'll make the appropriate post.

If any reader can direct me to empirical reports that support the sports performance enhancement via SMT (synchronoized metronome tapping), please drop me a note via the "comment" feature.

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SpinalAssist robot technology

Thanks to engadget for the interesting post about research on the development of the SpineAssist robot that could be used to "tour" the spinal canal while taking pictures.

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ADHD brain self-regulation treatment

Thanks to Positive Technology Journal for the tip regarding a new study in the journal Pediatrics that investigated the efficacy of self-regulation treatment (of slow cortical potentials via feedback) for ADHD. Very interesting use of neurotechnology (neurofeedback) for ADHD. PTJ provides a nice summary, so no sense repeating it hear. My contribution is to make a pdf copy of the article available for viewing.

Encephalon 11 brain carnival

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cerebellum differential time-keeping role

This is a follow-up post up on my prior posts regarding the three major systems of timing, the brain functions/structures involved in mental/interval time-keeping, and research implicating the brains master time clock in certain clinical disorders (click here)

According to Buhusi and Meck (2006), research has suggested that impaired mental/interval time-keeping in the seconds-to-minutes range is found in patients with disorders that involve dopaminergic pathways (Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease,and schizophrenia. Coupled with research that has studied the impact of lesions in the cerebellum, these authors conclude that "the striatum and cerebellum are involved in different aspects of timing and time perception. Although the cerebellum is not essential for interval timing, it is required for correct millisecond timing"

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Neuroscience of smell and taste

Thanks to Mind Hacks for the tip re: an article in Nature about our senses of smell and flavor. This is a nice follow-up to my recent post (The nose "knows") re: recent research on the importance of Go (olfactory) abilities in the CHC taxonomy of human cognitive abilities.

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Brain images and movies: SPL site

I just stumbled across a great site for images and brief movies of various human functions, and the brain in particular. Check out the Surgical Planning Laboratory (at Harvard) site. Click on the image gallery link....and then enjoy

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SharpBrains feature added

I continue to tinker with the focus and direction of the IQ Brain Clock blog. As noted in the blog description, aside from a primary focus on mental time-keeping research, interesting neuroscience research, particularly that related to education, is another focus.

As I've started to monitor more neuroscience-related blogs, I've become increasingly interested in the neurotechnology/brain fitness movement.

Given the above, I've decided that I should not attempt to reinvent the wheel and should let "the" blog in this domain (SharpBrains) speak for itself, and I should simply provide an automatic RSS feed mechanism for readers. Thus, beneath the RSS topic feed from my "mother" blog (IQs Corner), I've now added an RSS feed feature for recent topics posted at SharpBrains. Readers can now readily keep track of whats "happening" over at SharpBrains and then click and go to the mother source.

I hope readers find this useful.

Biofeedback to help students do better on tests?

A tip-of-that hat to SharpBrains for the FYI post about an article in Technology and Learning Magazine about how a school system is using a PC-based biofeedback program with third graders to "calm" students down before taking tests. I'd like to see an actual controlled study, but the anecdotal reports of higher test scores are interesting.

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Holiday brain book guide

Looking to keep up with the most current books dealing with the brain? Looking for brain book gifts for the holidays?

Thanks to Neuroethics Law Blog for an extensive post (with many links) to many of the hot new brain books.

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Interactive Metronome keynote PPT slides posted: New blog feature

I've added a new feature to the IQ Brain Clock blog. You can see a new section on the right side, down a bit, called "On-line PPT slides." I plan to post any relevant PPT slides related to the purpose of this blog. Currently only one set has been posted..."Interactive Metronome: Whats happening under the hood?"
This was my keynote presentation as an external speaker at the October, 2006 IM conference in Austin, TX. See prior posts regarding my external consultant/evaluator potential "conflict of interest" with regard to IM.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Improve Human Intelligence - new blog

I just ran across a new blog called "Improve Human Intelligence." IHI was nice enough to feature and make some nice comments about this humble blog (Tick Tock Talk: The IQ Brain Clock). I will be adding IHI to my blogroll and will monitor it's activity and make FYI-relevant posts at this location.

Thanks IHI.

IQ Brain Clock blog remodeled

I just finished upgrading my Blogger service for this blog and, in the process, decided to remodel the appearance of the IQ Brain Clock blog. It now has a new look and feel. More important are a few new features:

  • "Labels" have been added to all posts. As you can see by inspecting the right margin of the blog, this provides for a blog index under the "labels" section.
  • A feed notifying you of recent posts from my sister blog (IQs Corner) is also now available.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Time "flies"...time is a "drag": Temporal awareness

[Double click on image to enlarge]

"Boy..time just flew"
......or......."time just seemed to drag on, and on, and on."

What are some possible explanations for these different subjective perceptions of time? According to Zakay (1992; I drew this information from a chapter by Wearden), the answer may lie in the construct of temporal awareness, which is derived from how important time is during a task (temporal relevance) and how much uncertainty an individual has about the duraton of certain events (temporal uncertainty)

As per Wearden's chapter (note - examine the model figure above to help understand the text--italics emphasis are the blogmasters):

  • "According to Zakay, some real-life situation is judged by the participant on the basis of past experience or expectation, in terms of two-dimensions: temporal relevance (how important time is in the task), and temporal uncertainty (how much uncertainty the participant has about the time of event occurrences, or their duration). The outcome variable in Zakay’s model is “temporal awareness”: if this is high, then the passage of time seems very slow (time seems to “drag”), whereas if it is low, then time can seem to “fly.” A situation judged to have very low temporal relevance will induce little temporal awareness, and the passage of time will be subjectively rapid (although a subsequent retrospective time judgment may be long). A high level of temporal relevance can be associated with high or low level levels of temporal uncertainty. Even if the time of some event is critical, then temporal awareness is reduced if uncertainty is reduced (by providing cues as to when the event will occur, for example, or in conditions where things “run like clockwork”). High levels of temporal relevance coupled with high levels of temporal uncertainty produce a high level of temporal awareness, where a person focuses continually on the passage of time, which consequently seems very slow. Consistent with these ideas, “waiting room” situations produce high temporal awareness, and consequently time seems to drag in them, because (a) time is highly relevant, when waiting for a train or plane, for example, and (b) the exact moment when the train, or plane, arrives can be uncertain, particularly in error-prone transport systems such as the UK-railways at the time of writing."
  • "An important variable might be the amount of attention allocated to temporal and nontemporal aspects of situations (see Brown, 1997, for a review of research). If a person can maintain attention on something other than the passage of time (watching an exciting film, for example), then temporal awareness may be reduced, and time may seem to fly during the time period.
So....the next time you are in a situation where time seems to "drag on, and on, and on....", or, conversely, time seems to "fly"...if you are wondering why you have such different subjective perceptions, remember the above model figure and do a self-assessment of your level of "temporal awareness" might, at least, help you cognitively cope/understand with your time perceptions.

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