The time paradox: How your mind creates the fourth dimension

All of us really feel that point goes sooner after we’re having enjoyable, and drags after we’re bored, however there may be nothing in physics that describes this impact. So how has our sense of time advanced?


three July 2019


Katrin Ray Shumakov/Getty

SOME time in the past, college students on the College of Tennessee have been handed an uncommon task. Think about your self as a Lilliputian, they have been instructed, as they stared at a miniature mannequin of their communal lounge, full with furnishings and collectible figurines. The scholars have been requested to place themselves within the little individuals’s footwear, enjoyable on the tiny chairs with minuscule cups of espresso. Then they needed to say after they felt 30 minutes had handed.

For the notionally shrunken college students, time flew. Their estimates fell properly wanting clock time. Much more curiously, the acceleration of their felt time was proportional to the dimensions of the mannequin lounges wherein they have been immersed.


This weird end result, reported in Science in 1981, is often invoked by neuroscientists to counsel that area and time are folded collectively within the mind as they’re within the universe. It’s also one among many intriguing demonstrations of how malleable our notion of time is – and the way mysterious.

Time’s passage is maybe essentially the most basic function of our expertise, and but trendy physics can’t resolve if it’s a basic property of the universe. So what’s time, and why it does it circulation? How come it appears to gradual and surge? And what, if something, does the time we expertise should do with the time outlined by the legal guidelines of nature?

The seek for solutions takes us into the unusual borderlands between neuroscience and physics – a foggy, treacherous place that exposes the boundaries of our means to see actuality as …

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