Psychology: A Briefer Course By William James Review

3046 words - 12 pages

Psychology: A Briefer CourseBy: William JamesChapter XVII: The Sense of TimeChapter XVIII: MemoryChapter XIX: ImaginationSummary, Modern Thought, and VerdictJonathan AriasPSY 203 - EAHChapter XVII: The Sense of TimeSummaryWilliam James begins by stating that our minds will never be able to truly experience the present. This is because when we go to recollect the present it has already become the past. The moments between the action of our lives and the realization that it is real are enough for us to miss the present. When someone is explaining time as 'Now' they are referring to the past and the future. This goes along with the thesis that the mind cannot experience the present.We have no sense for empty time. James defines empty time as boredom. When the mind is experiencing boredom it will appear to last longer than time spent having fun. This is due to our inability to perceive time continuously. James also expresses that time filled with interesting experiences goes by quicker than those filled with fewer experiences. However, when looking back at the time it seems that time filled with more experiences lasted longer than it actually did. This is because the mind has more memories built during that time.James expresses that time can be separated into units. Time can be measured just like length can be measured by inches. However, after several units of time the mind begins to vaguely perceive it. James states, "Our only way of knowing it [time] accurately is by counting, or noticing the clock, or through some other symbolic conception." (283)James makes the argument that, "the same space of time seems shorter as we grow older". (284) He makes the argument that the older one gets the faster they perceive time. James explains this by saying as one ages, one becomes more familiar with events that occur. Perception of time is created through memories. So if one is familiar with past events, such memories will not be as important.Lastly, James explains his concept on perspective projection. This is when one recalls past events and experiences the emotions in the present moment.Modern ThoughtPsychologists have found the study of our sense of time quite difficult. This is due to everyone having a unique sense of time and our inability to measure it. However, many tests have been administered to answer this question and there have been several assumptions made. These assumptions add on to James's ideas on the perception of time.James states, "In general, a time filled with varied and interesting experiences seems short in passing, but long as we look back. On the other hand, a tract of time empty of experiences seems long in passing, but in retrospect short." (283) Grondin (2008) further dissects this idea by examining an experiment done by Cahoon and Edmonds in 1980. In this experiment subjects were escorted to a room where a pot of water was boiling. The control group in the experiment was asked to wait in to room until the experimenter returned....

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