Sunday, June 13, 2010

Are You Upset When Watching the Clock? Impulsivity and Time Perception

Cognitive ScienceImage via Wikipedia

An interesting "in press" article (Trends in Cognitive Sciences; Willmann & Paulus) that links the pacemaker accumulator model (PAM) of mental time-keeping and impulsivity and decision making.

The bottom line is that individuals that focus more attentional resources on time ("watching the clock") and/or who may be in increased arousal states (due to emotional distress), experience time differently. Such individuals
overestimate time durations, and thus have a harder time waiting for rewards or delaying gratification needs. According to the author's modification of the predominant PAM model (see addition of "mood states" oval in figure above), the pacemaker of impulsive individuals may run at a higher clock speed, due to increased arousal or attention.

Interesting hypothesis and expansion of the PAM.
This is very interesting to me as I have been founded to be a bit more impulsive on one of my neuropsych tests.  However, I am not sure about the models that the authors are using.  They seem to much like a computer model and less like something that uses a gradient model of cognition. Looking at the effects of vision therapy on impulsivity, I think that PAM may not capture the effect of improved sensory perception on cognition. But, who am I to judge? I am not a neuropsychiatrist. 
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