Time for Understanding Time in the Brain
“Time is passing too fast!” Many of us use that phrase every day when we feel like our kids are growing up fast or when a deadline sneaks up on us. When Virginie van Wassenhove hears that phrase, it conjures an entirely different point of view. She goes straight to consciousness, musing on how we perceive reality.
“When it comes to time, we tend to use linguistic shortcuts that may abuse the state of reality and fundamentally bias the way we think about time and the way scientists conceptualize issues related to time,” she says. “I am interested in understanding how the slow time scales of squishy matter afford us to assign meaning to reality.”
A cognitive neuroscientist at CEA and INSERM in Paris, van Wassenhove is working to understand the neural underpinnings of time. She has organized a symposium on the topic at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) annual meeting in San Francisco this month — featuring scientists who are exploring evidence of how we construct mental models of time. Click to read