Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mental time keeping scholar - Dr. John Wearden

In a prior post I announced the IQ Brain Clock blog "Mental Timing Scholars" link section. I've now expanded this scholar honor roll to three reseachers (Meck, Lewis, and now Wearden). This post is to highlight Dr. John Wearden's program of research.

Below is a statement (lifted from his faculty web page) re: his mental interval time-keeping program of research. He is a scholar whose research this blog will monitor and summarize at it becomes available. What I very much appreciate, and readers of this blog should "check out" his list of publications...which includes links to pdf copies of all articles (so you can read and view everything he has done). Kudos to Dr. Wearden.
  • For the last 15-20 years I have worked more or less exclusively on the perception of time. A specific area of interest has been the application of scalar timing theory (SET), originally developed as an explanation of timing in animals, to studies of time perception in humans. SET is an internal-clock-based model of timing, but in addition involves short- and long-term memory components, and decision processes. My research has investigated all these areas: studies of “speeding up” and “slowing down” the pacemaker of the clock (both with adults and children), studies of working memory and “reference” memory for duration, and manipulation of decision processes involved in timing. The most recent research involves attempts to control the operation of the putative internal clock, work on all sorts of memory for duration, and attempts to manipulate the “references” that people use when making time judgements. I have been involved in studies of timing in children, elderly people, patients with Parkinson's disease and, most recently, schizophrenia. An additional area of interest is animal timing. Although I do not carry out experiments on animals, I am engaged in computer and mathematical models of animal timing, as well as other theoretical issues. In general, a substantial proportion of my output is theoretical, mainly using computer modelling to test theories derived from SET, but also other areas such as modelling the process of chronometric counting. I have long-standing collaborations with researchers at the University of Li├Ęge in Belgium , and the University Blaise-Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand , France , and have recently begun a collaboration with researchers at the Hopital St. Anne in Paris .
  • I hope to begin an extensive research programme on timing in the elderly, in particular the question of why distortions of subjective time in everyday life are so frequently mentioned by old people, and what these reports mean. Conventional laboratory studies of timing in the elderly find fairly consistent, albeit small, changes in time perception with age, albeit changes which seem far too slight to account for the subjective reports of older people. In a recent article, I have argued that much previous research on timing in old people (including my own) is “barking up the wrong tree”, and that novel methodologies are needed if old people's time experiences are to be properly understood. Some work in this area can be done with student participants, and preliminary data on some potentially relevant variables has already been collected.

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