How the brain creates the perception of time

From sundials to atomic clocks that lose one second every 15 billion years, humans have always tried to objectively measure time as accurately as possible.

Credit: Hayashi and Ivry, JNeurosci 2020.Next, the volunteers were shown a test stimulus, whose duration they had to estimate.

For the duration of the experiment, the human participants were inside an fMRI machine that inferred brain activity from blood flow.

The researchers noticed that neurons in the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) fired when images were flashed on the screen for specific lengths of time.

Basically, repetitive tasks with fixed durations tire time-sensitive neurons in the brain, stretching or compressing how we perceive the passage of time.

Zapping these neurons with an electrical signal may help make time fly faster when you’re bored and engaged in mundane, repetitive tasks.

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