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The relativity of time: How does time pass for you?Science project video

Abstract

Einstein theorized that time is relative, that time and space is not separate but part of a continuum. Though Einstein?s theories of time may not be experienced by us on a daily basis, we are able to experience variations in how we process time with our minds. Most of us have experienced on a personal level how "time flies you are having fun", or how time seems to drag when we are bored or waiting for something to happen. In this experiment, you will test participants? ability to estimate the duration of time that has passed while under various controlled conditions.

Objective

Evaluate how different conditions influence our ability to estimate the passage of time.

Scientific Terms

Time, Mental Processing

Background

The perception of time is a mystery, starting with the very definition of time. What is time? How are we able to experience time? A common definition of time is that it is relational, that what we call time is the relational or sequencing of events. In other words, what we frequently call time is duration between what you did yesterday and what you did today; however, what happened yesterday is the memory of an experience. You could argue that time is the relation of our experience in the present moment with our memories, making the passage of time very subjective or even an illusion. The perception of time passing does not seem to be specifically connected to any of the five senses. Recent research seems to indicate that the basal ganglia and parietal lobes of the brain may be involved in detecting the passage of time. This experiment will allow you determine how sensory information may influence our sense of time.

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