Vacation flies by?Maybe it’s because the brain didn’t expect it to be this good…

2022-05-12 0 By

Students, winter vacation balance is insufficient, of course, there are many students have already started school, have fun do you feel time flies?In fact, it could be the brain’s prediction error — when you get more positive stimuli than expected, you perceive time as passing faster.Our sense of time may be the basis of all experience and behavior, but it is an unstable subjective sensation that swells and contracts like a sponge.Emotions, music, what’s going on around us, and shifts in attention all change how we perceive time, making us feel like it’s speeding up or slowing down.For example, we perceive time as slowing down when we look at angry faces compared to when we look at neutral ones, a difference that also applies to butterflies versus spiders, and blue versus red.There are some similar experiences in life, such as the more anxious the pot of water will boil less, and the happy time always passes quickly.In a study published last August in Nature Neuroscience, Ido Toren, Kristoffer Aberg and Rony Paz, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, shed new light on what lengthens and squeezes our perception of time.It has long been thought that we learn through rewards and punishments, and that the mechanism behind this is linked to time perception.Now the three researchers have found evidence to support this view.The study also found that the brain is constantly making predictions and expectations about what will happen in the future, and it is this behavior that determines our perception of time.Sam Gershman, a cognitive neuroscientist at Harvard University, said: “Everyone knows that ‘happy moments are short-lived,’ but the full statement might be more subtle — if you’re happier than you expect, then they’re short-lived.”Time and Learning Time is not a thing to the brain.Different brain regions rely on different neural mechanisms to track time, and the neural mechanisms that govern the perception of time change depending on the situation.Research over the past few decades has shown that dopamine plays a crucial role in how we perceive time.Dopamine has countless effects on the perception of time, and these effects can even be contradictory and confusing.Some studies have found that an increase in dopamine speeds up an animal’s biological clock, causing it to overestimate how fast time is passing;Other studies have found that dopamine causes compressed events in the brain to pass, making time seem to pass faster;Other studies have found both effects, depending on the context.The connection between dopamine and time perception does interest researchers, in part because dopamine plays a role in reward and reinforcement learning.For example, when we receive an unexpected reward (that is, we have made a prediction error), the chemical dopamine floods in, and this reward signal causes us to continue in our previous behavior.It’s no accident that dopamine is equally important to time perception and learning. Drugs such as methamphetamines and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease alter both processes, as well as dopamine production.Learning itself is a process of associating behavior with results. It needs to connect one event with another in time.”At the heart of reinforcement learning is temporal information, in fact,” says neuroscientist Joseph Paton.However, scientists have yet to figure out how learning and time perception are integrated in the brain, or which regions are involved in the process.In fact, “in traditional research, the two fields have been completely separate,” says Martin Wiener, a psychologist at George Mason University in The United States. “No one has thought, ‘If learning and time perception use the same neurotransmitter system, how do they affect each other?'” The nature Neuroscience paper takes a closer look at the question.In the study, subjects were shown two numbers flashing on a screen one after the other, usually followed by a zero.Occasionally, however, the screen would appear with a random positive or negative integer as the second number: if it was positive, the participant would get a bonus, but if it was negative, the bonus would be deducted.The duration of the second number varied, and subjects had to report which number lasted longer.The results showed that when an unexpected good thing happened (what the researchers call a “positive prediction error”), the stimulus made the subjects feel like it lasted longer.Unpleasant outcomes (negative predictive error) make the experience seem shorter to the brain.”This basically tells us that our perception of time is systematically skewed by how surprised we are atthe outcome,” said Matthew Matell, a psychologist at Villanova University.The team showed that the greater the prediction error, the greater the perceived distortion of time.They built a reinforcement learning model that was able to predict how each subject would perform on the task.They also performed brain scans to track the effect in the putamen, an area of the brain associated with functions such as motor learning.Although further experiments are needed to determine the precise mechanisms involved (and the role of dopamine), the study has implications for both learning and time-perception models.If we lengthen or shorten our perception of time in response to external signals, we may also change our perception of distance from certain actions and outcomes, which in turn may affect how quickly we learn these associations.According to Bowen Fung, a former Caltech postdoctoral researcher, the time effect associated with prediction errors also suggests that “reinforcement learning models must have this additional feature if they are to accurately reflect what is happening.””It will be a challenge for future modellers or those trying to improve their understanding of the brain to take into account this interaction between temporal effects and reinforcement learning,” Matell said.Gershman and his doctoral student John Mikhael have taken up the challenge and are developing a learning model to improve mental prediction by adaptively adjusting the flow of time in the brain.But predictive error isn’t the only thing that shapes our sense of time.A study published last September in the Journal of Neuroscience found that participants who were repeatedly stimulated briefly tended to overestimate the duration of slightly longer intervals.According to the study, this may be because neurons sensitive to short-lived stimuli become tired in this context, allowing neurons sensitive to longer-lasting stimuli to dominate the way they perceive subsequent stimuli.Similarly, after repeated long intervals of stimulation, participants underestimated the duration of slightly shorter intervals.The more tired the neurons in the superior middle margin gyrus (SMG), the greater the time distortion.”By changing the context in which the stimulus is presented, we can actually manipulate how subjects perceive these durations,” says Masamichi Hayashi, a cognitive neuroscientist at The National Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Japan.Scans of brain activity showed that an area in the right parietal lobe was responsible for this subjective temporal experience.Hayashi conducted the study with Richard Ivry of the University of California, Berkeley.Hayashi and Ivry, along with Weizmann’s three scientists, focused on completely different brain regions and mechanisms, but both studies observed a bidirectional effect on time perception.On the one hand, it shows how diverse the timing processes in the brain are.On the other hand, Hayashi said, the right parietal lobe does have a functional and anatomical connection to the nucleus and shell, so perhaps the interaction between the two is responsible for the overall perception of time.Any laws and calculations that make this (or other) interaction possible are likely to form the basis of our perception of time.But until those rules and calculations are settled, scientists will have to look ahead to the clock to determine the time.For more exciting content, please download the “Big Wuhan” client in each major application market.