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The Duration of Presence

  • Marc WittmannEmail author
Part of the Studies in Brain and Mind book series (SIBM, volume 9)

Abstract

Regarding the present experience in the here and now, the question arises as to what the temporal limits of conscious awareness are. At least three levels of temporal present pertaining to temporal integration with different duration can be discerned: (1) in the range of milliseconds, the functional moment defines whether events are perceived as simultaneous or as appearing temporally ordered; (2) in the range of up to 2 or 3 s, the experienced moment is related to temporal segmentation which enables the conscious awareness of the present moment; (3) in the range of multiple seconds, continuity of experience is formed by working memory processes leading to the sense of mental presence. Present experience is a single unitary state. Therefore, experiences on lower levels of temporal integration are embedded and discontinuously fused into the highest level of integration: mental presence. Events occurring within an experienced moment are phenomenally present and integrated into working memory-related mental presence.

Keywords

Presence Temporal integration Temporal order Experienced moment Conscious awareness 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Over the years the empirical and conceptual work presented here was supported by grants from the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Berlin), the Max Kade Foundation (New York), the National Institute of Drug Abuse (Bethesda), the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind (San Diego), the tri-national Neuroscience Network Neurex (Illkirch), and the Fundação Bial (Porto). The author was also supported by the European project COST ISCH Action TD0904 “Time In MEntaL activitY: theoretical, behavioral, bioimaging and clinical perspectives (TIMELY; www.timely-cost.eu).” Thanks go to Bruno Mölder, Valtteri Arstila, and Peter Øhrstrøm for hosting the Turku workshop on “The philosophy and psychology of time: continuity, presence and the timing of experience” (14.8.–15.8.2013). At this meeting I got the chance to exchange with many philosophers and scientists on the topic of temporal presence. From this meeting and from continuous exchange, inspiration came from several people, which I would like to mention, namely Valtteri Arstila, Sean Power, Christoph Hoerl, Oliver Rashbrook, Ian Phillips. Finally, I want to mention the conceptual work on the topic presented here with Carlos Montemayor.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental HealthFreiburgGermany

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