Time perception and time consciousness

How do we perceive time? Findings on the relationship between affect and time, together with recent conceptualizations on self- and body processes have connected time perception with emotional and bodily states. Neural processes in the insular cortex, which are related to body signals, feeling states as well as to self-consciousness, are constitutive mechanisms for the creation of subjective time.

Next to fundamental research on the relationship between the experience of time with cognitive processes and affect, we study how the sense of time is modulated in altered states of consciousness such as in meditation or in drug-induced states as well as in neurological and psychiatric conditions.

PD Dr. Marc Wittmann +49 (0)761 20721 73
Damisela Linares Gutierrez, M.A. +49 (0)761 20721 71

Current external funds:

    6/2015-10/2017: Wittmann M, Schmidt S, Meissner K. "Changes in subjective time as indication of increased mindfulness after meditation." FUNDAÇÃO Bial: €38.900.-

    Related to conceptualizations of an intricate relationship between self-consciousness, mindfulness and subjective time, we are conducting a series of experiments probing for changes in the duration of the subjective present through mindfulness meditation experience. We are employing a battery of psychophysical tasks related to perception of sequence, to the integration of metronome beats, and the perception of alternations in an ambiguous figure and we are investigating whether effects of meditation on the subjective present are modulated through heart-rate variability and breathing rate as bodily parameters.

Selected publications:

The complete list of publications can be found here

Wittmann M (2016). Felt Time. The Psychology of How We Perceive Time. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Wittmann M (2015). Modulations of the experience of self and time. Consciousness and Cognition 38, 172-181.

Wittmann M. (2014). Embodied time: The experience of time, the body, and the self. In: Arstila V, Lloyd D (Eds.), Subjective time: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of temporality. Cambridge, MA: MIT press, 507-523.

Wittmann M., Peter J., Gutina O., Otten S., Kohls N. & Meissner K. (2014). Individual differences in self-attributed mindfulness levels are related to the experience of time and cognitive self-control. Personality and Individual Differences 64, 41-45.

Pollatos O., Laubrock J. & Wittmann M. (2014). Interoceptive focus shapes the experience of time. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86934.

Jo H-G., Hinterberger T., Wittmann M., Borghardt TL. & Schmidt S. (2013). Spontaneous EEG fluctuations determine the readiness potential: Is preconscious brain activation a preparation process to move? Experimental Brain Research 231, 495-500.

Wittmann M. (2013). The inner sense of time: how the brain creates a representation of duration. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 14, 217-223.

Wittmann M. (2011). Moments in time. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 5 (66).

Meissner K. & Wittmann M. (2011). Body signals, cardiac awareness, and the perception of time. Biological Psychology 86, 289-297.

Wittmann M., Simmons AN., Aron J. & Paulus MP. (2010). Accumulation of neural activity in the posterior insula encodes the passage of time. Neuropsychologia 48, 3110-3120.

Wittmann M., van Wassenhove V., Craig AD. & Paulus MP. (2010). The neural substrates of subjective time dilation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 4 (2).

Further information about the research of Marc Wittmann: https://sites.google.com/site/webmarcwittmann