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The Human Body is a Well-Calibrated Timing Machine

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The editors at Best Masters in Psychology Degrees decided to research the topic of:

The Human Body is a Well-Calibrated Timing Machine

At least 3 internal clocks are running every waking second.

Tapping your foot to music?

- Add at least two more clocks.

Around the clock

- Environmental cues, like light, turn genes on or off to reset natural clocks.
- The "clock" is too small to be read.
- At only a portion of the hypothalamus it's smaller than an almond.
- These rhythms persist in the absence of external cues.
- (This is an INTERNAL clock)
- Circadian schedule
- 2:00 AM-Deepest Sleep
- 10:00 AM-Highest Alertness
- 2:30 PM-Best coordination
- 3:30 PM-Fastest Reaction Times
- 11:30 PM-Bowel movement suppressed
- A new man:
- The circadian rhythms of modern men in industrialized societies do not change for the seasons.
- Even if bathed in the same amount of artificial light as their male counterparts, the circadian rhythms of women adjust for the light outside.
- After decades of exposure to artificial light in the workplace male circadian rhythms have been hoodwinked into forgetting their natural path.
- Circadian rhythms are even at work in plant life, like algae.

From minute to minute

- How time feels
- Sometimes a minute can last an eternity, and sometimes an afternoon will fly by.
- If our feeling for time is subjective, how are we able to estimate the length of tasks without looking at the clock?
- Pulses= how the brain measures time
- Pulses are archived in your memory and associated with the task at hand.
- Caffeine speeds up pulses
- Sleepiness slows down pulses
- Gaussian distribution
- Your brain randomly samples the number of pulses that it took to perform an action.
- Example: Pulse sample of crossing the street
- 49,53, 65, 47 pulses
- 25 pulses, when tired
- 90 pulses, when caffeinated
- Mean: 54 pulses
- 54 pulses could be the feeling of about 30, or 50, or 250 seconds. It all depends on your past memories of crossing the street.
- Your ability to juggle multiple clocks at once enables you to multitask.
- Worst case scenario: Imagine you are talking on the phone and driving. You stop at a stop sign and your internal clock does not alert you that you have spent long enough stopped. You remain stopped.
- Alzheimer's involves a chemical deficiency that disables the storing of pulses in a timely manner.
- This leads to difficulties estimating how long things should take.
- Sitting in your car waiting for the gas tank to fill up for an hour:
- You might have an acetylcholine deficiency
- Multiple clocks
- Through sampling the pulses of our memories, our brain provides one clock for when we should leave work, and another for how long we should spend jotting out a short email.

Splitting seconds

- Your brain can't determine exactly how long it will take you to cross the street, but it can organize complex series of beeps and flashing lights.
- Takes well under a second to comprehend a sound or a light.
- We register what we see 38 milliseconds after what we hear.
- If a light blinks 20 milliseconds before a beep sounds we can put them in the correct order even if we register the sound first.

Just can't seem to keep track of time?

- Drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and the antipsychotic haloperidol alter the way we experience time.
- With prolonged substance use the brain compensates, essentially overriding our faulty memories.
- Solitary confinement disrupts multiple internal clocks.
- The slamming of steel doors, rounds of guards, and lack of natural light disturb patients circadian rhythms.
- Daytime alertness and nighttime relaxation shifts to 24 hour in between stupor.
- The lack of external stimuli sends prisoners into a "mental fog."
- Solitary prisoners become hypersensitive to stimuli
- Often become confused as to the order of events.
- Slowing down of pulses leads to excruciatingly prolonged time
- And the feeling of extremely rapid-fire events.
- There is evidence:
- With therapy and chemical supplements these developments can be reversed.