Scientists have been attempting to understand our perception of time for years. In youth, it is a race to adulthood and a push for independence; in middle-age, people grieve at its loss and yearn to return to the carefree days of youth. The loss of youth is a central theme throughout J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and a major reason why the story appeals equally to adults and children alike.
But how are perceptions of time formed?
In another article bearing the same title, Steven Kotler writes about the work of Baylor neuroscientist David Eagleman and his attempts to understand how the brain perceives time. Eagleman has discovered some startling concepts, writes Kotler at Psychology Today, which "could lead to new treatments for mental illness."
Eaglemann's interest was sparked by something called the flash-lag effect, an example of which can be seen at Michael Bach's Visual Phenomena and Optical Illusions website. The effect remained unexplained until Eaglemann theorized that the brain predicted images a few milliseconds ahead of time. Eaglemann's research, says Kotler, provided, "the first evidence that our perception of time is not an exact representation of what is occurring in the moment we consider to be the present."