A Psychology of Orientation: Time Awareness across Life Stages and in Dementia

A Psychology of Orientation: Time Awareness across Life Stages and in Dementia

A Psychology of Orientation: Time Awareness across Life Stages and in Dementia

A Psychology of Orientation: Time Awareness across Life Stages and in Dementia

Synopsis

Psychological research using time as a variable has been extensive since the era of Wundt and Ebbinghaus. The care of and research on dementia patients highlights a unique need for understanding and applying the concepts of time and space. This volume, unique in its development of a model for time-space orientation, proposes that understanding the needs of these patients is increased by consideration of the disorientation caused by dementia. Included is a review of the history of time and time measurement, a survey of psychological literature using time as a variable across the life span, and a model of time orientation applied to persons who have developed dementia.

Excerpt

Time has been a subject of interest to psychologists throughout the twentieth century. In research, time has served as an independent variable, as witnessed in the plentitude of reaction time studies. In contemporary research, time also has been used as an intervening variable in some studies. Most frequently the implication has been that time is whatever is measured by clocks, to paraphrase the old saw about intelligence testing.

Yet there have been thrusts toward explaining the nature and influence of time. Proposals of this sort are found in theoretical papers published in a variety of journals and books that explore time’s influence on the lives of humans. These have been focused, usually, within a context such as psychiatric conditions, physical circumstances such as medical illnesses, or social climates such as environment.

To date, there have been limited attempts to consolidate findings and proposals into a cohesive ensemble and draw conclusions about time’s ultimate presence and meaning. That is the purpose of this book. Not only does it include a brief consideration of the history of time measurement, but it also surveys selective portions of the study of time throughout the life cycle. Since time and space are the integral components of orientation, there is a major impetus in this direction, eventually focusing on what has been called disorientation. This latter condition has been defined in terms of the reality created by the greater portion of social orders. In this book, the term is used in a less pejorative sense: what we have called disorientation must be considered instead as an alternative form of orientation. This must mean, then, that time and space are as much a part of the orientation of those called disoriented as they are to the rest of us. To demonstrate this view, dementia has been chosen as the illustrative condition:

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