Your Brain Is a Time Machine

Author: Dean Buonomano

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

A neuroscientist investigates how the architecture of the human brain shapes our understanding of the nature of time.

"Time" is the most common noun in the English language, yet philosophers and scientists don't agree about what time actually is or how to define it. Perhaps this is because the brain—the most complex dynamical system in the known universe—tells, represents, and perceives time in multiple ways.

In this virtuosic work of popular science, Dean Buonomano investigates the relationship between the brain and time: What is time? Why does time seem to speed up or slow down? Is our sense that time flows an illusion? In lucid prose, Buonomano presents his own influential theory of how the brain tells time, and he illuminates such concepts as free will, consciousness, spacetime, and relativity from the perspective of a neuroscientist. Drawing on physics, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, he reveals that the brain's ultimate purpose may be to...