A leading neuroscientist presents a groundbreaking exploration of how time works inside the mind, arguing that the human brain's complex system constructs our sense of chronological flow in ways that are essential to evolution and everyday survival.
"In Your Brain Is a Time Machine, brain researcher and best-selling author Dean Buonomano draws on evolutionary biology, physics, and philosophy to present his influential theory of how we tell, and perceive, time. The human brain, he argues, is a complex system that not only tells time but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological flow and enables "mental time travel"--simulations of future and past events. These functions are essential not only to our daily lives but to the evolution of the human race: without the ability to anticipate the future, mankind would never have crafted tools or invented agriculture. The brain was designed to navigate our continuously changing world by predicting what will happen and when. Buonomano combines neuroscience expertise with a far-ranging, multidisciplinary approach. With engaging style, he illuminates such concepts as consciousness, spacetime, and relativity while addressing profound questions that have long occupied scientists and philosophers alike: What is time? Is our sense of time's passage an illusion? Does free will exist, or is the future predetermined? In pursuing the answers, Buonomano reveals as much about the fascinating architecture of the human brain as he does about the intricacies of time itself. This virtuosic work of popular science leads to an astonishing realization: your brain is, at its core, a time machine."--Dust jacket.
Part I. Brain time. Flavors of time -- The best time machine you'll ever own -- Day and night -- The sixth sense -- Patterns in time -- Time, neural dynamics, and chaos -- Part II. The physical and mental nature of time. Keeping time -- Time : what the hell is it? -- The spatialization of time in physics -- The spatialization of time in neuroscience -- Mental time travel -- Consciousness : binding the past and the future