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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Is it possible for us to speed down or slow down our perception of time?

Is it possible for us to speed down or slow down our perception of time?
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Saetre
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:21 PM
 
At least theoretically? Could it be done by using a drug or having neural surgery performed? Is our sensation of the speed of time relative to the neural equipment of our brain or is tied inextricably to a constant or fact of the universe that we have no control over? This is something I was wondering in the shower this morning... I have a hunch but I'd like to hear from others first.
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King Bob On The Cob
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:30 PM
 
Believe me, you can make it feel like time is passing slower.

Only way I know to get to that phase is to play a really competitive sport and be in rather good shape. (The football that was just thrown at you will slow down in a football game)
     
Mastrap
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:36 PM
 
Our perception of time speeds up with age. One reason for this is that the brain in a young(er) person simply hasn't experienced 'time' much, thus things are perceived to take longer than to an older person. Remember the never-ending summer holidays when you were a kid? Prime example.
     
BRussell
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:38 PM
 
Hallucinogens distort perception of time. It's one of the primary psychoactive effects. LSD, even marijuana in strong enough doses, can kick time's ass.
     
::maroma::
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
even marijuana in strong enough doses, can kick time's ass.
I can verify this claim.

Marijuana to Time, "Hey, Time! You think you're all hip and now, well I'm gonna break your hip, right NOW!" (<--actually a Will Ferral line from last night's Oscars... god he's funny)
     
voodoo
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:45 PM
 
Pain can make time go slower. Happiness can make it go faster.

V
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Saetre  (op)
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:53 PM
 
Thanks. That's also my suspicion, although I haven't done the psychoactive substances to verify the claim to myself. I'm just worried that we might be mistaking our memory for the amount of time that seems to have pass with the speed of time we mentally experience passing as it happens. It seems to me like it would be darn tricky to differentiante the two (especially since our sense of time seems to be inextricably tied to our memory of the moment before...)

If our sense of time is truly relative to whatever our brain is set to handle, perhaps everyone experiences time at a slightly different rate. Maybe some people experience time much faster or much slower than other people. Could this be the case with some mental disorders?
( Last edited by Saetre; Feb 26, 2007 at 04:03 PM. )
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macroy
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Feb 26, 2007, 03:59 PM
 
Sleep.

Sometimes I feel like I just shut my eyes for a few seconds.. and its 8 hours later. Other times I feel like I've been sleeping for hours, and its only been 30 minutes.

The thing with the sport i.e when you're in the zone. Not sure its really "time" that's slowing.. but more so your opponents and the ball itself. Since you are still moving at the same speed.. just my .02.
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Saetre  (op)
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Feb 26, 2007, 04:15 PM
 
When I play Ping-Pong I experience much more in a set unit of time than I normally do. The memory of the sensation that time is slowed might just be a result of the insertion of more events than normal into a given period of clock-time. We slow down our replay to visualize the experience at a parseble speed because the original event was a quick sequence of reflexes that our brain executed easily, while recollection is not reflexive and we need more time to process the aftermath than we did to execute the original sequence of events. If our memory of the experience of time is based solely on the number of events per unit of clock-time, our memories of our experiences during youth, drug use sleep and intense sporting may be skewed. But it seems as if the experience of time is more than just a calculation of remembered events per unit clock-time. Or is it? Is there no sense of time that comes in terms of a moment by moment reckoning, in between events? Do we have a default time-speed that we experience which is updated later in our memories based on our experience? Can this default be altered by drug use too, or is my framing of the problem just hopelessly askew (as I suspect it probably is).
( Last edited by Saetre; Feb 26, 2007 at 04:23 PM. )
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olePigeon
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Feb 26, 2007, 04:18 PM
 
Actually, you want to speed up your perception of time. The more time you "notice," the "slower" it will go. There are some interesting articles on time differentials between Flies and Humans.

I would imagine you could change a chromosome somehow to imitate a fly or something, but everything would seem to be moving in slow motion (even you, since you can't move very fast.) I think it'd get pretty annoying.
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brokenjago
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Feb 26, 2007, 04:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Will Ferrel
"Hey, Time! You think you're all hip and now, well I'm gonna break your hip, right NOW!"
That has to be one of the most un-funny things I've ever heard someone say while trying to be funny.
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Y3a
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Feb 26, 2007, 04:41 PM
 
Weekends can make time speed up. Waiting for a performance review can slow it down.
     
OwlBoy
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Feb 26, 2007, 05:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
Actually, you want to speed up your perception of time. The more time you "notice," the "slower" it will go.
Like a high speed camera.

-Owl
     
Buckaroo
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Feb 26, 2007, 05:18 PM
 
Very good point. I recall when I was 14 and it took forever before I turned 16 so I could get my drivers license, and 18 seemed to take a decade. I think the High School years take the longest. They can be either the best years or the most painful years in a persons life.

I wonder if that is why kids are always asking "are we there yet"?




Originally Posted by Mastrap View Post
Our perception of time speeds up with age. One reason for this is that the brain in a young(er) person simply hasn't experienced 'time' much, thus things are perceived to take longer than to an older person. Remember the never-ending summer holidays when you were a kid? Prime example.
     
Jawbone54
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Feb 26, 2007, 05:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by brokenjago View Post
That has to be one of the most un-funny things I've ever heard someone say while trying to be funny.
It's only funny when Will Ferrell says it. If you read one of the scripts to his movies, it wouldn't sound funny; it's all in the delivery.
     
mdc
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Feb 26, 2007, 06:42 PM
 
The sport one is strange since I remember in high school when I was in a 400m race. I distinctly recall everything slowing down as I was picking up my pace to begin the final sprint.

It was strange and caught me off guard. I've never experienced it before or after that one time.

To this day I can still picture the exact image in my mind. Where the other runners were and where I was on the track.

I know I didn't slow down the space time continuim, yet I don't know what happened that moment in time.
Did my brain jay startpepcessibh everything faster this it seeming to slow down?
( Last edited by mdc; Feb 26, 2007 at 06:50 PM. )
     
kick52
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Feb 26, 2007, 06:57 PM
 
i thought extasy(spelling?) was meant to make time feel slower.
     
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Feb 26, 2007, 07:17 PM
 
As far as the sport one goes (being in "the zone"), I have also experienced that. I used to play basketball quite a bit and I've been in that situation on more than one occasion. I've often thought about what exactly is happening to my brain when I'm in that state. And not being a scientist, or even a highly intelligent person, I felt one possible reason is that for some reason your brain sort of "opens up". By that I mean it suddenly begins to take in a lot more information that it usually does. And not only is it taking a lot more in, its also organizing it and putting those pieces of information through its course a lot faster than usual. So when I'm in the air laying the ball up, I suddenly feel like I'm just hanging there, and when I remember things, I remember every detail. Which makes me think that I'm observing every little thing that is going on around me, processing it, and making my body react to it all in a millisecond (or whaetver amount of time it is). Which seems to be a lot faster than normal.

I think the same sort of things happens in an immediate crisis situation. If you've ever been mugged or whatever, you might remember time seeming to slow down at that moment as well. I think your brain goes through the same sort of process(es) I described above. Its something your brain feels it must to in order to get you out of that situation alive (which is a primal, instinctual reaction to any life or death situation). Your brain springs to action, taking in info at an amazing rate, processing all of it, and then making your body react.

That's my uninformed, off the top of my head, notion for what's happening when time seems to slow. At least for those times like being in the zone or something like that.
     
olePigeon
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Feb 26, 2007, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by OwlBoy View Post
Like a high speed camera.

-Owl
Precisely.
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MM-o4
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Feb 26, 2007, 07:32 PM
 
stop drinking coffee and have no sugar. Thats slows down my perception of thing

-MM-
     
willed
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Feb 26, 2007, 07:33 PM
 
Saetre - if you are interested in the link between memory and time you should read St Augustine's 'Confessions'. You are right to say that they are deeply interconnected. It is a brilliant work anyway, so would be worth your time.
W
     
BRussell
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Feb 26, 2007, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Saetre View Post
Thanks. That's also my suspicion, although I haven't done the psychoactive substances to verify the claim to myself.
I have.

I'm just worried that we might be mistaking our memory for the amount of time that seems to have pass with the speed of time we mentally experience passing as it happens. It seems to me like it would be darn tricky to differentiante the two (especially since our sense of time seems to be inextricably tied to our memory of the moment before...)
Yup. And vice-versa too. It's said that people with perfect memory, like S. Shereshevski, end up not being able to tell the difference between things that happened recently and things that happened long ago, because their memories are clear for both. One function of forgetting is that it helps us to see that time has passed, and the clarity of memory is indicative of recency.
     
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Feb 26, 2007, 09:48 PM
 
Phish will do both for you
     
macgeek2005
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Feb 27, 2007, 02:59 AM
 
Remember what Einstien said? He said time is completely relative. When you have your hand on a hot lightbulb, a minute feels like an hour. When you're sitting with a pretty girl in your lap, and hour feels like a minute.

It's just perception, and relativity.
     
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Feb 27, 2007, 03:11 AM
 
I watch porn in slow mo, does that count?
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Tiresias
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Feb 27, 2007, 04:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by macgeek2005 View Post
Remember what Einstien said? He said time is completely relative. When you have your hand on a hot lightbulb, a minute feels like an hour. When you're sitting with a pretty girl in your lap, and hour feels like a minute.

It's just perception, and relativity.
But what happens if you're sitting with a pretty girl on your lap and have your hand on a hot lightbulb?
     
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Feb 27, 2007, 04:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
But what happens if you're sitting with a pretty girl on your lap and have your hand on a hot lightbulb?
you end up with an old man's body and a young man's hand.
     
Tiresias
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Feb 27, 2007, 05:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
you end up with an old man's body and a young man's hand.
Therefore the ideal woman has a skin surface temperature of approximately 2500° C.
     
centerchannel68
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Feb 27, 2007, 09:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Saetre View Post
At least theoretically? Could it be done by using a drug or having neural surgery performed? Is our sensation of the speed of time relative to the neural equipment of our brain or is tied inextricably to a constant or fact of the universe that we have no control over? This is something I was wondering in the shower this morning... I have a hunch but I'd like to hear from others first.
Most definitely. Smoke pot dude. You can control time, if you concentrate. At least I can. It's very odd. Things that take only 5 seconds can be an epic adventure, and you'll wonder if anybody else notices how long it took you to do something, but in reality it was only 5 seconds. Or, it can go the otherway. It's crazy.
     
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Feb 27, 2007, 09:32 AM
 
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centerchannel68
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Feb 27, 2007, 09:58 AM
 
Uh, yeah, if you want to find out how time feels like to nerds.
     
Dakar²
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Feb 27, 2007, 09:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by centerchannel68 View Post
Uh, yeah, if you want to find out how time feels like to nerds.
OH BURN!
g
     
centerchannel68
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Feb 27, 2007, 10:15 AM
 
Heh.
     
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Feb 27, 2007, 10:37 AM
 
I saw a talk by a researcher named David Eagleman that had a really funny bit related to this. He made this device that counted up numbers in an LED display at varying rates (looking kinda like an old-school digital clock). He would have a subject look at it and increase the counting rate until the subject could no longer make out the individual digits--it was all a blur.

Then the subject would take the device, running at the same speed, to the top of tower a hundred-some feet high and jump off the tower into a net, while holding the counter and watching the display. During the jump, the subject could make out the digits.
     
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Feb 27, 2007, 02:39 PM
 
when i was training for the marathon (in peak physical shape), i'd notice things used to slow down on the basketball court when i would run a fast break. it seemed that everybody was running 100% and out of control while i was going 100% but felt like i was only going 80% and made my moves effortlessly and was always one step ahead of everybody.
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sek929
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Feb 27, 2007, 03:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by centerchannel68 View Post
Most definitely. Smoke pot dude.
Kinda, but shrooms will make 5 minutes seem like two hours, and two hours seem like a week long adventure.
     
cenutrio
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Feb 27, 2007, 04:11 PM
 
I had one of these in Amsterdam last weekend, yes, it is possible to slow down time perception.
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RodriCO2000
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Feb 28, 2007, 03:57 AM
 
Time is completely relative to the observer, so in effect, yes time can be slow and fast....... depends on the observer. Time is not fluid and its not an arrow, its just a perception of our reality.

Best way to do it is to Sleep......

Its like hitting Fast forward.......
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Mar 1, 2007, 06:44 AM
 
I'm a regular pot smoker. Unfortunately, I've never noticed it alter my perception of time. LSD trips however, are something else entirely. It's truly bizarre how LSD will affect, even seem to remove, your perception of time. After really over doing it on mushrooms once I was shocked and amazed to find myself back living in this life again.
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moonmonkey
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Mar 1, 2007, 07:07 AM
 
Heroin can make a whole night pass in a couple of hours.

LSD on the other had can make a bad night last for weeks.
     
Saetre  (op)
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Mar 1, 2007, 02:34 PM
 
I guess I just don't do enough drugs. If I did the answer to my question would have been obvious to me! slugslugslug, that's one cool experiment. I have a couple books on my shelf about the philosophy of time. I should give those a read now, I guess. I wish I understood better how our minds form its impression of time.
Little children are savages. They are paleolithic creatures.
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