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Theory of subjective time perception

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Forgive me if this is an area of already extensive scientific research – I did a half-baker’s worth of internet research on it already and found nothing. If it turns out to be well-established, or at least already well considered, I will delete the idea.

I am formulating a theory in my half-educated brain of differential time perception sense among various species. My theory is that different living beings perceive the passage of time at different rates.

Some of you may recall the episode of the original Star Trek in which a race of beings perceived the passing of our second as we perceive the passing of several hours, or perhaps days (I don’t recall the specifics). I submit that this is a reality among species on our planet.

Consider the starfish, the sloth, the human, the fly – I am postulating, for example, that these four creatures perceive time at four different levels. If you time-lapse photograph the behavior of starfish (sea stars), it is startling to watch them move and interact with each other. Perceived at our rate of perception, they appear near motionless. But film them over a period of a few days, and speed up the film so that a full hour passes in seconds. It is startling to watch them interact, fighting for territory and supremacy over a patch of food, and otherwise behaving in what now appears to be normal speed for such activities.

Also, I don’t believe the sloth is impatient with itself as it slowly reaches for the next spot on the branch. I believe it perceives its own movements at the rate that we perceive our own, and we seem to it to buzz around it in a blur – much like a fly buzzes around us so quickly. Now, the fly appears to our perception to be moving like a person does in a film that is being shown at increased speed. But if we film the activity of a fly and replay it slowly, we can see a creature moving at a rate that matches our own movement.

I don’t know of any way to prove this theory, but it’s fairly interesting. It may even explain why some folks consider others "slothful" who are unable to keep up with them. Perhaps they have a slightly different sense of time. Certainly it is well known that we can chemically alter our perception of time. Perhaps there is a biochemical reason that "time flies when you're having fun" -- perhaps enjoyment increases the time perception rate in humans. Perhaps we can establish a base time percepton rate for humans, call it, say h. So flies perceive at 2h, sloths at 0.5h. Sea stars perhaps at 0.02h. Under the influence of certain narcotics or endorphins, we can increase our perception to, say, 1.01h.

Again, if this is old hat, or a thoery already well under consideration, I couldn't find it. But if it is, I'll be pleased to look into it, because it is a fascinating notion, and could lead to a new understanding of what time is.

globaltourniquet, May 15 2002

Time http://www.maps.org...v11n2/11245mat.html
Very poetic and informative article; caution, before you nod off while reading it be aware that the article appears in a collection of pro-psychoactive drug literature. [reensure, May 16 2002]

"Time" A New Logic (Revised) [From newsgroups] http://www3.nf.symp...search/ps/ps109.htm
An interesting collection of logical contraints for time study. [reensure, May 16 2002]

The Perception of Time http://www.york.ac....gramme/adv/pot.html
University of York Psych. class outline.
"Fundamental facts of time perception will be considered in both human and non-human species, as well as comparative approaches between species." [phoenix, May 16 2002]

The Experience and Perception of Time http://plato.stanfo...es/time-experience/
The metaphysics of time perception. [phoenix, May 16 2002]

Toward a Unified Theory of Animal Event Timing http://www.math.utah.edu/~hills/time.html
[phoenix, May 16 2002]

(?) What is it like to be a bat? http://www.silcom.com/~teragram/bat.html
Thomas Nagel's essay suggests we can have no knowledge of the subjective experience of other species. [pottedstu, May 16 2002]

"Dust" short story http://www.sfreader...ad_review.asp?ID=31
Excellent short story by Greg Egan involving subjective vs objective time [Jeremi, May 16 2002]

Why Time Speeds Up As You Get Older http://www.amazon.c...202-3011005-0203823
Somebody obviously takes the subject seriously. [DrBob, May 12 2005]

Fractal Time http://survive2012..../fractal-ching.html
Lots of druggies think time bears a fractal geometry that reveals itself on different time scales. [daseva, Aug 12 2009]

"Time" series hosted by Doctor Michiu Kaku http://www.sprword.com/videos/time/
[theircompetitor, Aug 13 2009]

A new source for [pottedstu]'s 2002 link which has expired http://www.clarku.e...club/docs/nagel.pdf
[normzone, Aug 13 2009]

View the following link: http://www.wildlife...ls-mountain-lion-5/
Here is yet another case that forces one to perhaps rethink and re-evaluate their assessment as to whether animals are truly "void of consciousness" if one wishes to use it as an argument against the potential ability to "perceive".(doesn't exactly seem like natures default "biological imperative" does it? :)) [AlaST0R, Aug 14 2009]

Time? There ain't no such thing! http://discovermaga...2007/jun/in-no-time
[DrBob, Aug 14 2009]

[link]






       c r o i s s a n t - m a y i s l e e p o n i t ?
po, May 15 2002
  

       1 year to a cat is said to be equal to 7 human. Don't know if this helps. That makes my first cat (3 cats mad) 49 years old. He's certainly grumpy enough.   

       Time within a species must alter, time went so slowly as a child, in recent years it seems to be flying by.
arora, May 15 2002
  

       it works on a sliding scale though arora - first year longer then following years - try to find a link..
po, May 15 2002
  

       One hour daytime sleep equals two hours nighttime sleep.
reensure, May 16 2002
  

       I suppose 'normal speed' is simply in the eye of the beholder, so yeah, this makes basic sense. <Tolkien's Ents> Let's not be hasty... </Tolkien's Ents>
RayfordSteele, May 16 2002
  

       I do believe it's fairly well established that - all things being equal - the faster an organism's metabolism, the smaller the slice of time that organism is able to perceive.   

       I'll see if I can find a link.
phoenix, May 16 2002
  

       So is that why the years seem to go by faster as I get older? My metabolism is slowing down comparatively?
RayfordSteele, May 16 2002
  

       Hmmm..Interesting concept, [Globaltourniquet]. But you chose starfish, sloths, and houseflies as your examples, all of which have far shorter ( and perhaps less interesting) lifespans than most of your readers. I looked around at the redwoods surrounding my ranch house that have not succumbed to bark-beetle, and thought, "Hey, I don't remember that tree-trunk being so close to the eave 20 years ago."...and "When did that tree's roots start getting so close to the foundation below my bedroom?"   

       Now, it might just be the woods closing in on me or, then again, it just could be a diabolical scheme within an incomprehensibly long-term ( and, hence, slow-paced) time frame, but it occurs to me that the trees (especially redwood, sequoia and baobab species) are out to "get" (that is, eradicate or exterminate or, at least, condemn to permanent albinism, fungi and/or rust) all human life as we know it. Other writers have portrayed these trees as benevolent, omniscient, sentient beings. But having read your idea, [globaltourniquet], I now suspect them of far more malevolent motives and impossibly intricate plans than most humans are capable of imagining.   

       Probably due to the unseasonably dry winter we have had in the Western US this year, we are seeing quite a few large fires rather earlier in the season than we would normally expect. Is this another natural phenomenon, or are the "Pyromaniacs" around us actually "Pyro-Saniacs", with an understanding that those big, long-lived trees are actually plotting the human race's eventual destruction? Hmmm.   

       [Note to all readers: This is NOT an invocation to go out and burn a tree. This is all tongue in cheek. If you feel compelled to burn something, burn me in effigy.]
jurist, May 16 2002
  

       Makes sense to me, gt. I have often wondered, when trying to quash an annoying fly, and seeing it escape time and time again, whether it was perceiving my movements as if in slow motion.
neelandan, May 16 2002
  

       I think it's misleading to view different animals as perceiving time differently, since there is no way to quantatively compare subjective perception, even assuming animals can be said to have subjective perception. Since every animal is perceiving the same world (in its own way) that external world is the only reference point we have. Consciousness is necessary for the perception of time passing. There is no evidence that any animals other than human beings have consciousness.   

       For further information, read "What is it like to be a bat?" by Thomas Nagel (see link), which discusses the impossibility of comparing the experiences of different animals, although I don't necessarily agree with all his points (he believes all mammals are conscious).
pottedstu, May 16 2002
  

       //There is no evidence that any animals other than human beings have consciousness.//
I would dispute that (though not in a way that involves us getting annoyed at each other). I seem to remember that a researcher working with chimpanzees noted that, if a chimp with a red disc stuck onto his forehead saw himself in a mirror, he would reach towards his own head, not the reflection. This was taken to indicate that he realised that the image was himself, not some other chimp, and thus that he was self-aware. Whether this is the same as consciousness is moot. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I read this (it may have been that my wife told me about it).
angel, May 16 2002
  

       If consciousness = sense of self then it certainly is not required in order to perceive spans of time as I have described. The sloth can perceive its own movements or those of things and creatures in its environment at some rate without having any sense of "I"-ness. As can the fly. Though I agree with [angel], that many animals do have some measure of this sense.
globaltourniquet, May 16 2002
  

       *rereads idea* Yes, I agree consciousness isn't necessary for the sort of work gt describes: if you're interested in measuring speeds you just need stimulus-response.   

       It's only if you want to know how animals experience time as a subjective thing, you need consciousness: I guess there's a few components to experiencing time:   

       the idea of time as a sequence of events that can be ordered   

       the idea of cause and effect with effects following causes   

       memory   

       the concept of the arrow of time (which may relate to memory and to cause and effect)   

       the perception of how long things take (time flies when you're having fun)   

       being able to estimate what time a clock will show (knowing it's 6 o'clock without knowing how you know it is)   

       In addition, there is the idea of reaction time and the idea of simultaneity and handling events that happen in quick succession (which we sometimes get the wrong way round), which is related the minimum time interval that can be perceived, and all the quantitative things discussed above.
pottedstu, May 16 2002
  

       Regarding Rayford's observation that time seems to pass more quickly as you get older. I've long expounded the theory that this is because as you get older each day represents an increasingly smaller percentage of your life and a smaller part of your store of memories. It is therefore entirely logical that you perceive the days as passing more quickly as you get older. Perhaps we can redefine death as that state wherein the days seem to pass so quickly that you are unable to perceive them at all?
DrBob, May 16 2002
  

       DrBob, I reached the same conclusion long ago. I even once posted an idea incorporating the concept on the halfbakery, suggesting that one could slow down the perception of rapidly running out of time at the end of life by (somehow) erasing early memory (not suggesting that's without significant cost!). The idea was rapidly buried in fish.
beauxeault, May 16 2002
  

       Further to angel's point about the classic 'mirror test', pottedstu, I'd have to argue that the evidence for 'consciousness' in some other animals is at least as convincing as the evidence for 'consciousness' in other humans. The trick is not to look for awareness-of-self, which we can't exactly point to, but to look for 'Theory of Mind' - the idea that another animal is, like us, aware of itself and it's surroundings, and the expectation that it will, like us, respond as a sentient individual to our actions. The classic example of this is the low-status male monkey who's liable to get the shit kicked out of him by the alpha if he so much as makes a move for a female. So what does Monkey Machiavelli do? With one hand he hides what he's doing from the alpha, while, with the other, he masturbates in full view of the female. She spots it, clocks what's going on and heads off to a secluded spot away from the alpha, where Monkey Machiavelli has an illicit rendezvous with her. Like all good cheaters, they return separately so no-one is any the wiser.   

       Whether or not *we* consider this or that animal to be conscious, it is clear from this, and many other examples of primate behaviour, that many of them treat each other as conscious. It also strikes me as an example of fairly good abstract reasoning, and, short of spurious spiritualist metaphors like the 'soul', I see no reason to distinguish us bald, brainy apes from our hairier cousins. OK, they're not rocket scientists, but the question here is one of sentience - sensation - rather than sapience, and this specific type of awareness, it seems to me, is just a highly complex form of kinaesthetic sensation; that all those individual sensations of hunger, pleasures, pains, sights, sounds, etc., are integrated and articulated into a sense of self seems no more earth-shattering to me than the fact that we can use both of our legs together in order to walk.   

       Anyhoo, where the physiology that we relate to basic, psychological responses such as disgust, anger, fear, misery, happiness and surprise is matched in other species together with the external behaviour that we usually consider to be the 'acting-out' of an inner, emotional state, denying consciousness seems to me to require a fairly sophistic definition of consciousness.   

       Oh, and, to finally address the actual topic: interestingly enough, studies of mammalian *play* behaviour have found that if you slow down the squeaks of mice (and other animals, I believe) they sound like giggling, so much so that scientists are looking at the 'chuckle response' as something in-built in mammals, at least. And mice are pretty fast little critters... so maybe there is something in what you say, gt.
Guy Fox, May 16 2002
  

       I imagine, beauxeault, that the fish were for the whole notion of erasing memory, rather than the feasibility of the idea. Because the idea itself would work. If you could only remember the last six days, why one day would feel like forever. But just because it would work doesn't make it a good idea.
globaltourniquet, May 16 2002
  

       DrB: I fly a lot; I try to keep my fan base small so it fits in the seats. :o)   

       I wonder if it'd be more palatable if you could pick the memories you want to erase. And although Alzheimer's sufferers lose more recent memories and retain earlier ones, I wonder if they nevertheless experience "now" with a "higher Q."
beauxeault, May 17 2002
  

       If you want to interact with other species, first you have to try to put yourself into their time frame. Make some reasonable assumptions about their attention span, primary sense (eyes primary? or nose or ears--which I think is how dogs are biased), and what is known about their capabilities, and usually they will suprise you with what seems to be direct, non-verbal communication that convention says is anthropomorphism or automaton-like actions.   

       I feed the little birdies. I like to look at the little birdies. So sue me. The Jays soon learned how the feeder works--it is a hopper type, and the hoppers are of thin, flexible plastic. I don't know whether they learned on their own, or watched me, but at some point they learned that if they tap on the hopper, more seeds come out at the bottom. So now, when the feeder is empty, oft times a Jay will seem to more demonstrably land on the feeder, look at me, then whack the hopper a couple times, then look at me again, apparently trying to influence my behavior, trying to communicate that THE FEEDER IS EMPTY AND WE ARE HUNGRY SO WHY DON'T YOU GET US SOME MORE SEEDS YOU BEAKLESS WONDER!
entremanure, May 18 2002
  

       Is really time moving forward ? Or is our perception that makes it to appear like that ?
leandro, Oct 14 2002
  

       I totally had this idea, myself, when I was a kid. I saw gerbils scratching themselves at a rate that I couldn't come close to, bugs jerking about, etc... yeah
Qinopio, Oct 14 2002
  

       Scientific American, september 2002 special issue, "A Matter Of Time" covers everything discussed here and more. Cover stories include -Times mysterious physics, - Building time machines, - The mind and time, - Ultimate clocks, - The philosophy of time, - The bodys clocks, and - Time and culture. It was an excellent issue and dealt quite extensively on other species' matabolisms and their frames of reference when it comes to perceiving the passage of time.   

       linky.
DrBob, May 12 2005
  

       Perception of time varies from person to person depending on how their brain functions and parses information. It's completely subjective. And when a sloth looks at you, all he sees is a blur. Okay I made that last part up...
SpocksEyebrow, May 12 2005
  

       My personal theory on the the subject goes something like this.......   

       Time appears to to be always there, overall a big constant that can be relied on......like the ocean.   

       Also, like the ocean, there are unseen currents that shift and flow different directions at different times.   

       And there are tides, and surges, and other varying conditions that help explain why the last 10 minutes went so quickly, or the next day is going to crawl.   

       Mark my words, the physics to back me up will become apparent someday. Now I'm going to take a nap.
normzone, May 12 2005
  

       you speak of waves in the time/space continuum and how does a "perspective on reality" get +'s? Isn't it an MFD?
SpocksEyebrow, May 12 2005
  

       heroin binges seem to take forever.
benfrost, May 13 2005
  

       {benfrost}, Is that a bear trap for a cat?
Shakes head to clear it. Time. Every been in an accident where you still had control of the outcome?
As long as no one talks, Time slows to nearly nil.
Another oddity - I was playing basketball & we were about to be beaten & lose the right to the court. I was exhausted, but felt it would be a blow to my honor to be the reason for losing. The man I guarded threw up an ally-oop (a pass to another player that looks like a shot, where the other player grabs the ball near the hoop & either dunks it or gets a layup)
In a fraction of a second I diagnosed what was happening. This is not the wierd part, I took two steps backward & jumped. (I used to have an amazing vertical leap) The sun was in my eyes and the ball dissapeared behind it. Oh no! I thought. Now we will lose as I can't see the ball. I had the sensation of flying for it seemed 15 seconds and then I hear in real time "see look at that, I told you"
after it seemed another 15 seconds I began to wonder how on earth I was not already back on it.
Just then I started to feel myself floating rather than flying. & guess what?, the ball emerged from the sun. Next I thought "Oh crap, It's too high. I'll never get it. I decide to extend my body as far as possible & stick my hand in the ball's path.
Now I am thinking - Why am I still airborn? It doesn't really make any sense.
at this point I hear the footsteps of two people behind me. I think - there is the person who is about to catch the ball when I miss it & dunk it. I also think - I do think I remember someone on my team pretty closely guarding him. I hope he can bat the ball away when I miss it.
The ball & I both are floating slowly, very slowly, & somehow my hand touches it. "w o a h!" I hear people say.
I think now It's game point & I need to get both hands on the ball before it bounces off my hand. I do this, feel myself start to slowly begin falling & then time returns to normal.
I bet all of what I described happened in 3 seconds, but it really seemed more like 2 minutes to me.
  

       Very odd thing, our perception of time.
Zimmy, May 13 2005
  

       Think of when you were a school kid - six weeks of summer holiday was an eternity. Fast-forward to now. Your boss gives you a six week project. Panic!
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 13 2005
  

       "There is no evidence that any animals other than human beings have consciousness."   

       I would dispute this completely. Subjective time perception is in my eyes a more essential and valid idea than most understand, one I myself have been formulating for quite some time. The notion and accusation that subjective time perception as an idea is misleading due to the reasoning that no animals "other than humans" have been proven to have consciousness, is non-sequitur considering there's effectively been no true evidence that even humans have consciousness at all by the same token. For all I know, you're all merely syntactical progams facilitated no different than a computer that compiles and operates binary code and anyone with half a brain should be deducing the same probability for me just as they should for the individual who first wrote that humans or any being on this planet has "consciousness". Keeping this in mind...the philosophical idea that I think therefore I am, can only logically come from, and be wholeheartedly believed by he who thinks the very notion and idea himself...yet even so, is he deceiving himself? The idea that you put forth as this universal time that we all experience(humans and animals) as being the only reference point we have says nothing and remains to make your argument mute. There's an old path of logic we were reminded of by Carl Sagan, one that too many humans tend to forget in their empirical land of self-deception where every move they make is wholeheartedly based upon their self imposed limitations in inadequate technology and often, obviously, inadequate senses of logic. That is, ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE.
AlaST0R, Aug 12 2009
  

       Well, it was until you turned up.   

       But hang on, all other organisms (including us), from large to small, never get to experience what it's like to be another distinctly different organism, and consequently have no basis on which to compare. Time perception could easily vary according to scale, but will also be pegged to events caused by other activity in life not through the making of that organism.   

       Eg, many passerine birds can make highly complex auditory sounds that to us sound like a complex blurp or tone, but when slowed down, are a very carefully constructed sequence of tonal transitions. They're perceiving at a much higher rate than we are. And yet, the wind in the trees that they also perceive is the same wind in the trees that we do too.   

       I would posit that our notion that 'lower' life forms are not capable of consciousness, self-awareness or other forms of reflexive perception says more of our lack of ability to find them than their not being there in the first place. I mean - of course they don't think, they can't even speak English!
Ian Tindale, Aug 12 2009
  

       If you're referring to me, when I quoted, "There is no evidence that any animals other than human beings have consciousness.", I was quoting one above and arguing AGAINST this in my ultimate support of subjective time perception in so many words. This should have been obvious, but apparently it wasn't to all. It does in my opinion, indeed say more of our lack of ability to find evidence of consciousness in lower life forms than it does about the dispute of any conscious presence within them when we attempt to blindly state something with the implication that nothing's there simply because we don't see it on an empirical scale. Rather than arguing for this and directly attacking said previous idea, I instead chose to attack the idea by attempting to rip out the basis it stands on from underneath it, merely a matter of preference. There is no evidence shown to account for lack of consciousness in lower life forms. The individual I quoted seemed to imply the opposite by default in the statement that there was no evidence for consciousness in lower life forms. To refute this, I merely stated an important rock solid point of logic, that is; absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
AlaST0R, Aug 13 2009
  

       Absence of paragraph breaks, however, IS evidence of absence of paragraph breaks.
normzone, Aug 13 2009
  

       all good, but what are you refuting[AlaST0R]? That they perceive time differently? Of course they do. I didn't dive into every single link above, but there's ample evidence -- it has to do with the built-in "clock" frequency. A recent segment on The Science Channl or NGC's Universe, can't remember which, showed research and experiments supporting it. The experiment in question shows humans being startled by the sound of an exploding structures, pigeons taking off the exploding structure having been able to perceive the event, and snails carrying on on the ground next to the explosion as though nothing happened. There were many other examples [link posted]
theircompetitor, Aug 13 2009
  

       Im refuting for one, the notion that some assume there's no consciousness in lower life forms merely by absence of any true evidence that there is consciousness in them. The point of potential absence of consciousness in lower life forms has been used in an above argument to leave a hole in the very theory of subjective time perception. That is, without consciousness essentially one is attempting to argue that nothing in this category can perceive in the first place within the notion of perception as a whole. And thus, consequently insinuating that nothing in this category can subjectively perceive time.
AlaST0R, Aug 13 2009
  

       "That they perceive time differently? Of course they do. I didn't dive into every single link above, but there's ample evidence -- it has to do with the built-in "clock" frequency."   

       [To theircompetitor]: It becomes a more philosophical case that the former individual had pointed out which I was disputing, I'm guessing unbeknownst to some on here, where we cannot account for an animal having consciousness and actually perceiving something simply measured on its behavior. It still cannot be considered fact that the animal is "perceiving this" at all if it cannot be proven that this animal has consciousness, since we logically tie our very true definition of perception to having a consciousness. We cannot assume its even perception at all by mere actions alone, or when something solely "reacts" to an action the same way your tv can't necessarily perceive what channel you want when you aim your remote and hit the button. It acts syntactically with programmed algorithms to change the channel. (If we included otherwise inanimate objects in being able to "perceive" as we all truly take the word, than the argument would need to be shifted. But of course then it becomes merely a case of semantics). I was simply refuting this idea with the notion that "true you can't prove consciousness...but you can't prove lack of it either."
AlaST0R, Aug 13 2009
  

       [AlaSTOR] just got here yesterday and has not been properly welcomed to the Halfbakery.   

       Welcome, [AlaSTOR]. How did you find this place?
normzone, Aug 13 2009
  

       Ironically, I found it through a search engine searching around to see whether my idea of subjective time perception was already an introduced idea. Lmao.
AlaST0R, Aug 13 2009
  

       I actually was expanding my idea to many other forms other than sloths, starfish and houseflies, but of course that isn't to say they dont all retain equal importance.
AlaST0R, Aug 13 2009
  

       the notion of a universal frame of reference is simply delusional. The human brain, for all its straining to do so, will never be able to mimic the function of another human brain, because to do so would require becoming that brain, destroying the dichotomy. In the same way, our minds will never even come near understanding the minds of other species.   

       This idea has two crucial flaws, the first is that WE experience the "real" world and that all other living things are experiencing the same "real world". Since the reality that we experience is a construction of our bodies it does not translate into the reality of another body, much less another nervous system. "it would be cold and salty, but I would like that" doesn't work. The second critical flaw is the notion of intellectual portability and cohabitation: The brain cannot connect with the body/experience of another creature because it is wired for the body it developed in, if it were transplanted or transposed into another body it could only do so on the level of a vestigial experience rather than the authentic experience of the organism, a "translation" of the nervous system, more than likely completely indecipherable.   

       In conclusion, the perception of the passage of time has no absolute frame of reference thus to say that one species or another has a different frame of reference is simply in error. There is no absolute frame of reference for reality, species live their biological imperative.
WcW, Aug 13 2009
  

       Indeed, it's this lack of absolutism, I believe, that makes consciousness so simultaneously inevitable and intangible. It all feels natural. To skew a quote:   

       "There is nothing either fast or slow, but thinking makes it so."
daseva, Aug 13 2009
  

       Hence, snails are gigantic.
Ian Tindale, Aug 13 2009
  

       So, there's these competing effects... The bigger your brain gets the smarter you are, but the faster the world passes you by so you end up missing vital stuff like food. But that's ok because you figured out how to use fences to trap cows. And.. the smaller your brain the more stupidishly you go about things, but you got all day to make a move... Hmm.
daseva, Aug 13 2009
  

       perceptive speed and cognitive speed are not the same thing. this isn't a matter of speed, it's a matter of whether our objective perception of time has any application in the brain of another organism. is 30 seconds a "long time" or a "brief time" may not be an applicable question to an organism that waits multiple days for prey to wander to it, or that lives as a parasite. The application and formation of thoughts and ideas to measure the passage of time way well cease where it is not needed, thus making the passage of time simply a stop state between events. In the sea star excitement about the active stimulus may on one arm may not even propagate to the nerve cord leading to another arm. THE PERCEPTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS DOES NOT TRANSLATE BETWEEN SPECIES.
WcW, Aug 13 2009
  

       I think I read somewhere that most mammals have the same number of heartbeats in a lifetime, some just go through them quicker. I have thought the same thing about time perception before.
Lord Kyler, Aug 13 2009
  

       //In conclusion, the perception of the passage of time has no absolute frame of reference thus to say that one species or another has a different frame of reference is simply in error. There is no absolute frame of reference for reality, species live their biological imperative.//   

       Perception of time passage however, doesn't have to have a "universal" frame of reference to suspect that one species has a different frame of reference than another. There are other factors that potentially can lead us to this type of conclusion without having to compare them to a "universal norm". Time itself is a made up notion of man, but we use it as a variable to explain something that does have an obvious effect and presence, especially when attempting to study anything outside of our planet when distances and the effects of phenomena require us to fit the unexplainable forces and their effects into such a notion as space-time(IE: the curvature of space-time in an attempt to even begin to explain the light trapping capabilities of the event horizon in a singularity through the general theory of relativity. This being because light otherwise defies newtons laws as it's essentially "void of mass"). We can see something appears to be happening one way or another which is causing animals aswell as some humans to behave not simply chaotically different, but different as though each is geared to a purpose somehow seemingly shifted through evolution by different perceptions of this variable we would know as "time", which ultimately raises the question. Exactly what that something is, is conveniently attempted to be deciphered through what some would take to be a "universal frame of reference". You can't call it successful, but by the same token, you can't call the notion erroneous per say either since you yourself don't know its completeness all the same. Perhaps part of human nature's flaw is trying to find substance and meaning out of what is not necessarily there, but perhaps that can also serve as humanity's advantage at times just as easily as their downfall.   

       Any "universal frame of reference" is of course essentially "made up", since we have no tell tale signs that one frame of reference is more "real" than another. Furthermore, there is nothing to tell us that there is only ONE real world/one "reality" either, simply because we all seem to be participating in the same game even if we can all act and integrate ideas that seem independent from each other. If reality is ultimately perception, than perception can ultimately be reality.   

       The lack of absolutism here is indeed an essential missing piece of the puzzle which leaves the entirety of it open to potential philosophical havoc of which I among anyone else, am well capable of creating just as the next nihilist, but there still remains something there more than likely affecting the evolution of animals this way. Animals who behave in such seemingly calculated means with abilities we should be attributing through occams razor to nothing else than different perceptions of time were it not for the widespread unfamiliarity, newness of the idea and seeming complexity of the very concept. Species may live their biological imperative, but something creates that imperative. Every biological imperative of every species doesn't come without reason and purpose of some sort or another in nature and something of course, that caused them to be there. When you begin to witness imperatives of a peregrine falcon having to survive the drop of three thousand feet from mid-flight and swooping just in time two feet from the ground in complete freefall to grab prey while surviving about 23 Gs with no damage to its brain(Humans can take about 6 to 9 before their much larger and less brittle brain turns to complete mush), and its ability to hone in on a small rodent and "lock on" to it before it runs in its hole as though its viewing the animal through slow motion, it forces one to think how any animal can develop technology through evolution better than even our top fighter jets today if they didn't have some kind of other advantage that we haven't for say used to great extents as they perhaps have.
AlaST0R, Aug 14 2009
  

       soo... what your sayin' is "diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks" ?
FlyingToaster, Aug 14 2009
  

       Well the bit that I object to is that this idea seems to be a sophisticated version of "wouldn't it be neat to be a spider so you could have all of those extra legs". Its just not as simple as that.
WcW, Aug 14 2009
  

       Time flies like an arrow, while fruit flies like bananas, and when provided with one, will undoubtedly experience a change in their subjective perception of time passing.   

       And on a similar note, do long, wet Sunday afternoons bring out the hawk/predator in us?
zen_tom, Aug 14 2009
  
      
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