Two Asymmetries Governing Neural and Mental Timing

Authors: Bolbecker, A.R.1; Cheng, Z.2; Felsten, G.3; Kong, K-L.4; Lim, C.C.M.1; Nisly-Nagele, S.J.1; Wang-Bennett, L.T.1; Wasserman, G.S.1

Source: Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 11, Number 2, June 2002 , pp. 265-272(8)

Publisher: Academic Press

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Mental timing studies may be influenced by powerful cognitive illusions that can produce an asymmetry in their rate of progress relative to neuronal timing studies. Both types of timing research are also governed by a temporal asymmetry, expressed by the fact that the direction of causation must follow time's arrow. Here we refresh our earlier suggestion that the temporal asymmetry offers promise as a means of timing mental activities. We update our earlier analysis of Libet's data within this framework. Then we consider the surprises which often occur on those rare occasions when neural timing experiments parallel mental timing work exactly. Together, these surprises and asymmetries prescribe a relentlessly meticulous and fully transparent exposition of timing methods, terms, and concepts which shuns plausible narratives, even when buttressed by rigorous formal models, unless guided by apposite empirical evidence.

Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 2: Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville Medical School, Louisville, Kentucky 3: Department of Psychology, Indiana University/Purdue University/Indianapolis, Columbus, Indiana 4: Department of Psychology, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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