Monday, September 5, 2016

How the Brain Tells Time

The Scientist has a profile of Dean Buonomano, who investigates how the brain encodes time. One choice bit:
Two views of time. “In the field of timing, there are two general views,” says Buonomano. “One is the ‘dedicated model’ that proposes a central clock in the brain, in the same way that a computer or smartphone has a timer chip whose job it is to tell time and govern the timing of other functions like the stopwatch or alarm clock. The second, the ‘intrinsic model,’ says that timing is such an important task that it doesn’t make sense to have a dedicated part of the brain that tells time but that all of the circuits in the brain can tell time. . . . Over the past 10 years, the field has definitely embraced the intrinsic timing model more and more, and that’s been a really rewarding process to participate in.”

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