Monday was a very strange and unusually quiet day at work. The area is quietening down, as the schools have gone back. We now have a few weeks of the older generation and those without kids enjoying the less hectic holiday season.
Quietness is a double-edged sword for me. I don’t have to wear myself out with eye contact and the small talk that I find so difficult and tiring. On the other hand I find that when I’m by myself and bored, my brain starts to work overtime with facts and figures. It was at this point that I remembered a paper I had been working on back in 2009-2010 that covered this situation.
Basically it looked at the way a neurotypical brain could perceive time in certain situations. I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase that time flies when you’re having fun? Well basically I had started to look at this, and the fact that when you’re at work, time can drag. Let’s take 3 hrs for example – it’s a standard unit of time. Broken down to its base rate, it’s 10800 seconds. It’s a constant number that can’t change. So why does our brain alter time or our perception of it?
Our perception of time changes with age, but it also depends on our emotional state. Research is steadily improving understanding of the brain it’s circuits that control this sense. Time is an integral part of our daily life, regardless of whether we are in a hurry, relaxed, gripped by an emotion or bored stiff. We may be walking, driving, listening to music, hearing the phone ring, taking part in a conversation or doing a sport, but time is always there, omnipresent and immaterial. Whereas all our senses – sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste – bring into play specialised sensory receptors, there is no specific receptor for time. Yet it is present in us, our brain being a real timing machine, giving us the ability to alter time (or our perception of time). This basically was the idea behind the paper titled Working Time Directive, which was never finished but has come one step closer to fruition.
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