RUG uses exhibition visitors as test subjects in research into the human brain’s ‘internal clock’

People who want to know how to “experience” them can visit the University Museum from April 14, at the TIME WILL TELL interactive exhibition.

In this exhibition, visitors are part of real scientific research into the internal clock of the human brain. Professor Heidrich van Rijn’s group investigates the phenomenon of the “internal clock” in the human brain. Van Rijn wonders how our head is always aware of time, even if nothing else happened. During the exhibition, researchers ask visitors to perform small tasks that measure how people record time in their brains. Visitors not only discover how to test time, but also learn, for example, why it’s hard to close your eyes for 60 seconds without counting.

If visitors to the museum give permission, the search results will be used for Van Rijn and colleagues’ research. The exhibition is the first in the Netherlands in which visitors conduct scientific experiments on this scale. “We still don’t know how our brains perceive short periods of time,” van Rijn says. “It is important for us as experimental psychologists to collect data from as many different people as possible. In the lab we mainly test young people. But people of all age groups come to the museum. If we also allow children and older visitors to do the experiments, we can finally discover how The ‘internal clock’ changes over the course of life.

The TIME WILL TELL exhibition is made possible in part by the University of Groningen, the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Mondriaan Fund. The exhibition and research tools can be visited from April 14 from Tuesday to Sunday between 12:00 and 17:00. During school holidays, the museum is also open on Mondays.

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More information about the research can be found here.

Winton Frazier

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