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Can we slow down our perception of time ?


Posted on Monday, 30 June, 2014 | Comment icon 28 comments


Brain disruptions can alter our perception of time. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Mason

A man who had suffered an aneurysm discovered that he was perceiving the world as if time had stopped.

When struck down with a sudden headache, Simon Baker decided to see if taking a warm shower would help make him feel better.

When the water began to cascade down over him however he noted with puzzlement that the droplets seemed to be moving in slow motion until they had stopped altogether.

"I looked up at the shower head, and it was as if the water droplets had stopped in mid-air," he said. "They came into hard focus rapidly, over the course of a few seconds. It was like a high-speed film, slowed down."

Baker was soon diagnosed as having suffered an aneurysm and as it turns out he was not the only person to have experienced strange temporal anomalies as the result of a medical condition.

Our perception of time, far from being set in stone, is actually something of an illusion that our brain stitches together. Disruptions to the brain such as an epileptic fit or an aneurysm can alter this perception, making it seem as though time has been slowed down, sped up or is even standing still.

Other examples include the case of a 61-year-old woman who reported witnessing her train journey home and the movement of the passengers broken up in to slow motion "freeze frames". In another case a 58-year-old man from Japan found that his perception of people talking didn't match the movements of their lips, making everything seem like a badly dubbed movie.

"The healthy brain reconstructs the experience and glues together the different frames," said brain expert Rufin VanRullen. "But if brain damage destroys the glue, you might only see the snapshots."

   
Source: BBC.com | Comments (28)

Tags: Time, Slow, Brain


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by supervike on 1 July, 2014, 15:31
It was Sister Lois for me, but exactly the same effect.
Comment icon #20 Posted by JGirl on 1 July, 2014, 22:09
speaking for myself and my own experience i think it was more a case of remembering a split second of time rather than having time stop. i think i was able to press the pause button when remembering it - not that i actually saw it stop when it happened, just that i remember it that way. did that make sense?
Comment icon #21 Posted by Mantis914 on 2 July, 2014, 1:55
As soon as I read that, I thought of that scene in the first Nightmare on Elm Street where the main girl is in class and she sees her friend in a body bag calling her at the door and that one guy is reciting something in front of the class. Creepy...
Comment icon #22 Posted by rodentraiser on 2 July, 2014, 5:03
Well, I guess I am the only one here old enough to remember Sister Mary Elephant. *sniff* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister_Mary_Elephant
Comment icon #23 Posted by praetorian-legio XIII on 2 July, 2014, 16:14
Um.......time flies when your having fun.
Comment icon #24 Posted by cyclopes500 on 2 July, 2014, 18:07
I'm 48 now. I remember when I was a child/teenager the days at school seemed longer. We had say an hour long maths lesson, and then time in the playground, another hour long lesson, and then at 12 the hour dinner period began. One lesson seemed really long to me, the half hour in the playground seemed long, dinner time period was long, yet I've sat at my computer "now" for an hour reading stuff on this site and it seems as if mere minutes have gone past. I think i know why. A child's mind works faster than an adult's, probably as a result of evolution. and because in... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by Silent Trinity on 15 July, 2014, 9:17
Anyone who has ever watched a Labour Party conference or a British Soap opera will have no problem testifying to the phenomena of time slowing down actually existing...
Comment icon #26 Posted by 95-Nasty on 17 July, 2014, 14:06
When i was younger i occasionally had the odd 'Herbal cigarette' (if you know what i mean)? Time always slowed down for me, it was like my body and brain was so fast, everything was in slow motion, even speech! But then again what do you expect!!!
Comment icon #27 Posted by MysticStrummer on 29 July, 2014, 17:03
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmfXEs3DG08 From Deep Blue Sea. Not a great movie by any means, but not terrible.
Comment icon #28 Posted by RabidMongoose on 1 August, 2014, 14:02
There is another interpretation many will be unwilling to consider and thats that thought cause time and the rate of thinking the speed of time flow.


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