Two asymmetries governing neural and mental timing

Consciousness and Cognition 11 (2):265-272 (2002)
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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



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