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In the present research, we test Eddington’s claim that the arrow of time is “insisted on by our reasoning faculty: Psychology Assignment, UO, UK

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In the present research, we test Eddington’s claim that the arrow of time is “insisted on by our reasoning faculty: Psychology Assignment, UO, UK

UniversityUniversity of Oxford (UO)
SubjectPsychology

Questions

  • In the present research, we test Eddington’s claim that the arrow of time is “insisted on by our reasoning faculty” and that reversing it would “render the external world nonsensical” (Eddington, 1928/2012, pp 69)
  • We explored whether violating the expectation that entropy evolves from low to high and thus into the future (e.g., a glass falling, hitting the floor, and breaking into shards) causes an increase in perceived duration.
  • We presented animations of computer-generated novel 3D animated shapes, which either evolve from wholes into parts (low to high entropy) or from parts into wholes (high to low entropy).
  • Given these studies showing the effect of violations of expectation on duration perception, we reasoned that if entropy is one of the factors used by the human nervous system to determine the temporal orientation (i.e., the direction of the past from the future), violations of the second law of thermodynamics (the expected direction of entropy from low to high) will result in an overestimation of perceived duration.
  • In our experiments, we used the psychophysical method of stimulus duration reproduction, and we limited ourselves to immediate duration reproduction (that is, at the offset of the stimulus) and the 500ms – 2000ms range, as longer durations most likely involve processes beyond sensory and short-term memory

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