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Can we slow down our perception of time ?


Posted on Monday, 30 June, 2014 | Comment icon 31 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 (31)

Tags: Time, Slow, Brain

Recent comments on this story
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 the prehistoric times ther... [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
One day, a man saw time itself stop, and as David Robson discovers, unpicking what happened is revealing that we can all experience temporal trickery too. http://www.bbc.com/f...saw-time-freeze 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.
Comment icon #29 Posted by quiXilver on 21 January, 2015, 21:34
Subjective time is experienced and has been described many times by high level martial artists, athletes and meditators. One commonality among elite athletes is when they'll make the remark "I got to a point where the game slowed down..." Though, it seems the most common way to encounter it is in an accident, when the flood gates of perception are thrown open with the adrenaline rush and time crawls by almost frame by frame. I've experienced it a few times, in a couple of accidents and also when just sitting in my room reading. But some of the deions of what folks experienced it was really int... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by quiXilver on 21 January, 2015, 21:38
time stopped long enough for me to see the softball in mid air just inches from my face. i remember like it was yesterday, and the thought coming to my mind that it was so odd to just see it not moving. then it smashed into my face - line driver right between the eyes! I was wondering why the ball seemed to be getting bigger and bigger... then it hit me. How odd! I had this same experience. I was three, at my dad's company picnic. I was begging to be allowed to play, so they appeased me and set me out next to the shortstop. My Dad came up to bat, swung hard and connected with a line drive. I r... [More]
Comment icon #31 Posted by Dees007 on 29 January, 2015, 8:54
I had a similar experence when the car i was driving hydroplaned in rainy weather, just before impact with the vehicle in front of me everything happend in slow motion, might be that the brain deals with these situations differently, but i can say first hand that it was as if i was watching it happen at a very slow rate..


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