Friday, April 10, 2009

How Do You Visualize Time?

Many years ago, a friend asked "How do you visualize time?". I thought it was such an odd question, but the conversation that followed resulted in a very interesting study of the mind. She told me that she saw time as a "time line" that stretched from left to right with events dotted along that line in chronological order. Such as graduation from high school being to the left of graduating college. If someone asked her a question about her past, she automically saw this time line in her head so she could bring something forward to discuss it.

Of course, once she verbalized her visual time line I had to wonder about myself. Did I do anything odd like that without knowing or realizing it? So, I thought about something in my past to see what my thought process was and realized I also had my own mental visualization that I never knew existed. My "time line" doesn't go from left to right, but reaches out like the road ahead, but instead it's really the road behind (although I'm looking forward). The mile markers go backwards in time. So, let's say I'm having a discussion about when I graduated college, the visualization of that time would be further away from me than if I was talking about my wedding day. Like it's further down the road from where I am currently standing.

So, there you have it, two different visualizations of time. I've thought about this conversation on and off throughout the years, but I don't remember having a discussion about it ever again. Therefore, I thought it might be an interesting blog to find out if you also use some sort of visual "time line". If so, I'd love to hear about it!

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