About Time

Inventing the Fourth Dimension
Overview

Few intellectual problems are as intriguing or as difficult as understanding the nature of time. In About Time, William Friedman provides a new integrated look at research on the psychological processes that underlie the human experience of time. He explains what psychologists have discovered about temporal perception and cognition since the publication of Paul Fraisse's The Psychology of Time in 1963 and offers fresh interpretations of their findings.

In particular he shows that the experience of time depends on many different psychological processes and that it is essential to divide temporal experience into component categories in order to understand these processes.

In chapters on perception and memory, Friedman discusses our impressions about the rate of time's passage and our ability to localize memories in time. He takes up representation and orientation, our ability to build mental representations of the time structures that surround us and to view these patterns from the unique perspective of the present moment. Moreover he shows that we can learn a great deal about the psychological basis of temporal experience by studying the development of this knowledge in children and the way in which views of time vary by culture, personality type, and kind of psychopathology.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. Introduction: A Collection of Temporal Experiences
  3. 2. Perception: The Mind's Timekeepers
  4. 3. Memory: Remembrance of the Times of Things Passed
  5. 4. Representation: Mental Models of a Temporal World
  6. 5. Orientation: Constructing a Place in Time
  7. 6. Development: The Child's Discovery of Time
  8. 7. Variations: Culture, Personality, Mental Illness
  9. Notes
  10. References
  11. Index