Distrusting the present

Authors
Jakob Hohwy
Monash University
Abstract
We use the hierarchical nature of Bayesian perceptual inference to explain a fundamental aspect of the temporality of experience, namely the phenomenology of temporal flow. The explanation says that the sense of temporal flow in conscious perception stems from probabilistic inference that the present cannot be trusted. The account begins by describing hierarchical inference under the notion of prediction error minimization, and exemplifies distrust of the present within bistable visual perception and action initiation. Distrust of the present is then discussed in relation to previous research on temporal phenomenology. Finally, we discuss how there may be individual differences in the experience of temporal flow, in particular along the autism spectrum. The resulting view is that the sense of temporal flow in conscious perception results from an internal, inferential process.
Keywords Temporal phenomenology  Specious present  Prediction error minimization  Hierarchical Bayesian inference  Autism  Binocular rivalry  Action  Perception
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-015-9439-6
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The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Dover Publications.

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