Skip to main content

Salience driven novelty seeking, a hypothesis for why time seems to speed as you age.

In 2009 I mused in a Facebook post where a friend quipped if they were the only one who felt time was moving faster as they aged I responded.:


"the more you know, the less there is to find out, the less there is to find out the slower you learn new things, imagine a unit of learning as perceived by you being constant as time goes by life surprises you less and what does happen is spaced out in your experience over longer periods of time, thus a given number of events (significant learning ones that bring new knowledge) is perceived to be spaced out as well and there you go, time contracting with age. 

Just a theory. ;)"





I later wrote a short blog article describing the theory but didn't further explore until now.

Since then, I've gone on to perform personal research in dynamic cognition and have proposed a formal theory of generalized dynamic cognition based on an idea I was realizing at the time I called "salience modulation" , my refined answer to the question below builds on what I described so succinctly in that early post, a possibility that takes into account some computational aspects to how we actually integrate new information into existing structures of learned information.

Assuming that our cognitive model of learning is one that is salience driven as I've posited in my salience theory of dynamic cognition and consciousness ( http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2013/11/salience-theory-of-dynamic-cognition.html )  then it makes sense that any learning process that builds knowledge trees will start from the basis of abstractions that get refined to more concrete representations of concepts and experiences in each dimension of sensory experience as evolved over time (basically the exploration tree becomes more dense with time as old concepts are refined in the nuance of variation they contain as sub categories...for example when you were a child "cat" was a generalized representation of all animals that you noticed tended to have small hands, sharp claws, almond eyes, long tails and were some what smaller than "dogs".

At that time this was sufficient resolution for you to identify a cat from a dog or a pig....but as you continued to learn about more types of animals you also noticed sub structure in the concept of Cat. You were told that a Tiger which was much bigger than a dog but shared the earlier attributes of cats was also a cat. So were Lions and Jaguars and Cougars...later still you learned that there are different breeds of cats in the home...the  first one you came across to define the type. There are short hair and long hair breeds, Russian Blue's , Siamese and so fourth....your brain began filling in these concepts...so what does this have to do with time dilation??


Well the process of breaking down generalized abstractions into lower level categories requires energy, building those sub trees takes up cognitive cycles as the concepts are being consumed and categorized relative to existing concepts. Novelty is the process of discovering that some incoming experience is a new one and making way to encode that into what ever dimensional tree it is found to be associated....I posit there must be some cognitive cost for this and that cost is NOT paid once similar to experienced concepts again enter ...our moments of most attentiveness to what is happening focus around these punctuated inputs of novelty...for novelty seeking is how we explore the experiential landscape efficiently in order to satisfy our salience requirements....without out it long gaps of temporal elapse can pass before we again experience novelty and as such....our temporal experience of the passing of time also lengthens. 

The psychological clock ticks not to a beat of some arbitrary time clock...like the counter in a computer system that sets the metronome of computations through registers and across buses but rather to a salience driven novelty clock that only cares to focus when things coming in seem new and that is determined by weather or not some previously stored experiences can be related to them....the more work required to build in the experience the more apparent time exists (as constructing is actively engaging the cognitive process to tie salience to the encoded bit of novel experience) the less work required to build the experience the less apparent elapsed time there exists as novelty is rarely being found. 

Sure outside your head we have persisted in creating arbitrary and regular ways to beat off time but Einstein showed quite clearly that these are all relative measures...and so it goes that our mind by seeking novelty models this relativity of the passage of time to a degree.

A related idea that I've written about just last month is the meaning of "play", we can all probably recall how much of our day was spent just playing when we were children...why have we lost the fire for play as adults? I posit that play is a key tool for enabling growing minds to knit together as many trees of relationships between experiences under salience driven action as possible. This refines our ability to dynamically identify , select and apply subsequent experiences and thus boost our survival odds in a varied environment. 

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2015/02/dynamic-cognition-on-meaning-of-play.html

This is a very important lesson as many of us attempting to create dynamic cognition on non biological substrates must be aware that the rate of experiencing novelty between ourselves and our creations should in some way be aligned so that they do not experience our time as a boring hell especially if their cognitive process succeeds in becoming conscious as I assert it can should a salience driven cycle be employed in building the agent. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Highly targeted Cpg vaccine immunotherapy for a range of cancer

Significance?


This will surely go down as a seminal advance in cancer therapy. It reads like magic:

So this new approach looks for the specific proteins that are associated with a given tumors resistance to attack by the body's T cells, it then adjusts those T cells to be hyper sensitive to the specific oncogenic proteins targeted. These cells become essentially The Terminator​ T cells in the specific tumor AND have the multiplied effect of traveling along the immune pathway of spreading that the cancer many have metastasized. This is huge squared because it means you can essentially use targeting one tumor to identify and eliminate distal tumors that you many not even realize exist.

This allows the therapy for treating cancer to, for the first time; end the "wack a mole" problem that has frustrated traditional shot gun methods of treatment involving radiation and chemotherapy ...which by their nature unfortunately damage parts of the body that are not cancer laden but …

Engineers versus Programmers

I have found as more non formally trained people enter the coding space, the quality of code that results varies in an interesting way.

The formalities of learning to code in a structured course at University involve often strong focus on "correctness" and efficiency in the form of big O representations for the algorithms created.

Much less focus tends to be placed on what I'll call practical programming, which is the type of code that engineers (note I didn't use "programmers" on purpose) must learn to write.

Programmers are what Universities create, students that can take a defined development environment and within in write an algorithm for computing some sequence or traversing a tree or encoding and decoding a string. Efficiency and invariant rules are guiding development missions. Execution time for creating the solution is often a week or more depending on the professor and their style of teaching code and giving out problems. This type of coding is devo…

AgilEntity Architecture: Action Oriented Workflow

Permissions, fine grained versus management headache
The usual method for determining which users can perform a given function on a given object in a managed system, employs providing those Users with specific access rights via the use of permissions. Often these permissions are also able to be granted to collections called Groups, to which Users are added. The combination of Permissions and Groups provides the ability to provide as atomic a dissemination of rights across the User space as possible. However, this granularity comes at the price of reduced efficiency for managing the created permissions and more importantly the Groups that collect Users designated to perform sets of actions. Essentially the Groups serve as access control lists in many systems, which for the variable and often changing environment of business applications means a need to constantly update the ACL’s (groups) in order to add or remove individuals based on their ability to perform certain actions. Also, the…