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Can Time Slow Down?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the there-is-no-spoon dept.

The Matrix 444

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Does time slow down when you are in a traffic accident or other life threatening crisis like Neo dodging bullets in slow-motion in The Matrix? To find out, researchers developed a perceptual chronometer where numbers flickered on the screen of a watch-like unit. The scientists adjusted the speed at which the numbers flickered until it was too fast for the subjects to see. Then subjects were put in a Suspended Catch Air Device, a controlled free-fall system in which 'divers' are dropped backwards off a platform 150 feet up and land safely in a net. Subjects were asked to read the numbers on the perceptual chronometer as they fell [video]. The bottom line: While subjects could read numbers presented at normal speeds during the free-fall, they could not read them at faster-than-normal speeds. 'We discovered that people are not like Neo in The Matrix,' Eagleman said. 'The answer to the paradox is that time estimation and memory are intertwined: the volunteers merely thought the fall took a longer time in retrospect'."

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i thought time slowed down enough for a 1st post (5, Funny)

m1ndrape (971736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673615)

damn you agent smith, no wait, damn you oracle...no wait....damn you all!

*shakes* fist

Newsflash. (2, Insightful)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673617)

First on today's news: Time doesn't slow down for non-relativistic cases.

And in other news: Water is wet.

Film reel at 11.

Re:Newsflash. (5, Insightful)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673699)

Oh, shut the fuck up. You'd have said the same thing if they'd reported that the brain went into overdrive and could read the faster-than-normal numbers.

Re:Newsflash. (5, Insightful)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674215)

Even though you've been modded Troll, I pretty much agree with the sentiment expressed by your post. This meme of 'that study's conclusion is so obvious; what morons funded it' is getting really tiresome. It wasn't that long ago when it was obvious that the Earth is flat and sailing far enough takes you off the edge.

Re:Newsflash. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673773)

We discovered that people are not like Neo in The Matrix,

Te hehehee...

Re:Newsflash. (0, Offtopic)

chemisus (920383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674207)

whoa

Re:Newsflash. (1)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673825)

Time itself does not slow down, time perception is subjective. Anyone who has ever ingested cannabis and looked at a ticking clock will tell you this. "From what people tell me", it is on the order of "experiencing" 3 seconds every second. No need for free-falling airplanes.

Re:Newsflash. (3, Funny)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673889)

I just tried it. People lie to you.

Re:Newsflash. (2, Funny)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674023)

Time itself does not slow down

Ahh, but it can. Crank up that falling airplane to near the speed of light. Before it hits the ground, we all will be one second older than the occupants.

Re:Newsflash. (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673949)

No, but, in subjective cases
like that god-awful meeting
with the infinite list of slides
full of acronyms that come dangerously near meaning
yet somehow collapse into a cunning heap of mis-direction
just in time for the next annoying, distracting transition
delivered by a prozac-addled nitwit
who has repeated his farce to the point of belief
time has been seen to crawl
like a drunken slug.

Re:Newsflash. (4, Insightful)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674017)

It may seem obvious, but it is important in science to test even the most "obvious" assumptions. Otherwise it is easy to come to false conclusions, and pseudoscience abounds.

Short answer: No (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673631)

Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooo

dupe (4, Funny)

Sylvak (967868) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673649)

I remember reading this here a year or 2 back.

Re:dupe (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673829)

It only seems like it was a year or 2 ago. Actually, you're just remembering this article from when you read it 10 minutes ago.

Re:dupe (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673865)

Are you sure it was that long ago?

Re:dupe (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673879)

z0mg it's a dejavu glitch, they changed something.

Stupid Question (5, Funny)

Zashi (992673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673659)

What a stupid question. Of course it can. Ever had to sit through 3 meetings in a row?

Turns a matter of hours into a matter of weeks.

Hmmm... (5, Insightful)

geekmansworld (950281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673665)

Sounds a bit weak to me. Though such an event can be frightening or exhilarating, you KNOW that it's coming, and you KNOW that it's perfectly safe. To me, the experience of going over a roller coaster hill is different than the experience of being involved in an auto accident. I say more research is required.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

geekmansworld (950281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673723)

Before I get flamed, allow me to clarify the obvious: time doesn't slow down because humans feel endangered. Our perception of time may slow down because of psychological and physiological conditions.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673915)

Pretty much what I was thinking. I've had the experience of being in what seemed to be imminent danger and of having everything slow down, and so have other people I know. The experience is obvious at the time, not just in retrospect. I suspect that genuine mortal danger is required rather than just excitement.

Seconded... (1)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674225)

But I wasn't in danger... I was playing a game of street hockey back in grade school and doing the face off on a play. But concentrating intently on trying to make the first shot. I hit it and everything went into "slo-mo" as the puck shot across the gym floor, past several people and almost directly into the net where I saw the guard slowly maneuver to block it.

I didn't "recall" it slower, it was happening slower AS I experienced it.

I don't think the story is done on this. Time is perception and it seems to me that our wetwork bioclocks could experience "overclocking" given the right conditions. (I'm still holding onto the hypothesis that our clocks "slow" down as we age which is why time seems to go faster when you're older...)

Re:Hmmm... (4, Funny)

Karl0Erik (1138443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674055)

Exactly. I suggest strapping chronometers to people's windshields and involving them in accidents without asking them.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674097)

I also am unclear as to what they think they're testing. They're faced with the question, "Does time really seem to slow down?" and in response they test, "Are people able to see and process things faster?"

It's not clear to me what that the test answers the question. Does time *actually* slow down, and in a Neo-like state we can stop to look around while bullets are flying at us? Of course not. But do things *seem* to move more slowly? It seems so.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674227)

It's not clear to me what that the test answers the question. Does time *actually* slow down, and in a Neo-like state we can stop to look around while bullets are flying at us? Of course not. But do things *seem* to move more slowly? It seems so.

The question is whether that apparent slowing is something you experience at the time and can take advantage of (i.e. if time slows to one-third speed, can you read numbers or dodge bullets three times as quickly?) or if it's an illusion your memory retroactively imposes. That part of it seems like a reasonable test, but the OP's objection is a good one.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

ex0a (1199351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674137)

I say more research is required.

I agree. If the test is to measure the reaction of the brain due to adrenaline induced hyperactivity, could you not just inject adrenaline shots or some other form of stimulant into test subjects and test the reaction?

Or maybe have people test this theory by jumping out of a plane?

Or maybe we all can induce some stimulants and jump out of a plane for the ultimate test!

Re:Hmmm... (0, Offtopic)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674287)

Yes. And my ability to predict your future with my tarot cards, for some reason, can't be replicated in a controlled environment either. But come to my office, and let the cards tell you your future...

I dunno... (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673673)

...if I believe that conclusion. When I was browsing on Slashdot one April, and everything turned pink and ponyish, I swear that day lasted several months, at least.

Re:I dunno... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673713)

lucky you, it lasted a couple of hours for me.

Re:I dunno... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673973)

I miss the ponies!

Oh my gooodness! (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673675)

This just in: Perception is Reality! This seems like another rehash of the fact that our concept of "time" is determined by the rate our minds are working at (whatever analogy would be closest to clockspeed that actually fits...). It only make sense that the processes involved in an emergency situation would clock up as much as safely possible to increase the likelyhood of determining a solution before the "Dead"line.

Re:Oh my gooodness! (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673823)

But that's not what the study showed. The study showed that the people in the panic-inducing situation were NOT able to perceive the faster-moving clock, only the normally-moving one.

Though I agree with the above poster - if you know the situation isn't actually dangerous, it probably doesn't invoke quite the same adrenaline rush as when you actually think your life is in danger.

Re:Oh my gooodness! (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674069)

Um, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Oh my gooodness! (1)

jberryman (1175517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674345)

That is in fact the opposite of what the experiment seemed to show. If you're not going to read even the summary, you could have at least chosen to use a car analogy to illustrate your point. I mean, come on.

A more interesting question (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673683)

I have always wondered why we have 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute and so on. What criteria were used to put these metrics in place? By the way, when did time as we know it, begin?

What would be the problem with metric time for example?

Re:A more interesting question (2, Funny)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673759)

An even more interesting question is who paid for this study. I have a bridge to sell them.

Re:A more interesting question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673857)

Yeah, it's obvious that the answer has been weighing down your mind a LOT, so much that you never bothered to take 5 minutes to look it up.

Re:A more interesting question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673877)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time [fuckinggoogleit.com]

Re:A more interesting question (2, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673925)

Thank the ancient Babylonians, who used a base 60 [st-and.ac.uk] number system. They came up with the concept of 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a day.

Re:A more interesting question (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674109)

The advantage of using 60 is that it's an abundant number so it is easy to split your hour in 2 parts, or 3, or 4, or 5, or 6, or 10, etc... This comes up a lot in the middle ages when people need to precisely measure stuff but have only relatively crude instruments with only integral markings on them. That's also why there are 12 inches in a foot instead of 10, because it's a lot easier to split 12 into 3 or 4 parts (a common operation) than 10.

Re:A more interesting question (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673951)

The egyptians first subdivided the day in 24, 12 hours for day and 12 for night. The duration of an hour was not always equal except on equinoxes... Then, for the duration of the second, the latest definition is "the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom".

I don't think that this can vary a lot for anybody. It's just our perception of it that varies...

Re:A more interesting question (0)

mcmcc (228164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674113)

By the way, when did time as we know it, begin?
About the time that we knew it.

Sorry, was that response too existential?

What would be the problem with metric time for example?
You would have to replace every clock, wristwatch, microwave, cell phone, TV, VCR/DVD player, GPS device, and computer BIOS (to name a few) on earth?

Re:A more interesting question (2, Informative)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674125)

> What would be the problem with metric time for example?

        You don't say what you mean by "metric" time, but my guess is that you're asking about using a temporal analog of the current systems of linear distance, weight, volume, etc.

        If that's what you mean, the problem with that is that our current time system doesn't just measure one thing. It tries to measure the rotation of the earth in one day, and then it tries to measure the time it takes to make a trip around the sun. Even if we throw out the half-assed attempt to cram the lunar cycle into the mix, we still have two values whose quotient is not an integer. That means that any metric time system is going to need to go through the same periodic adjustments that our current system goes through.

Re:A more interesting question (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674245)

You don't say what you mean by "metric" time, but my guess is that you're asking about using a temporal analog of the current systems of linear distance, weight, volume, etc.

What I mean is something like this:

  • 100 seconds in 1 minute

  • 100 minutes in 1 hour
  • 100 hours in a day etc

By the way do the 12 months in a year have anything to do with the 12 hours in a day?

Re:A more interesting question (1)

joto (134244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674193)

I have always wondered why we have 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute and so on. What criteria were used to put these metrics in place?
Obviously for the same reason that there are 660 feet in one furlong, 128 fl.oz in one gallon, or 14 pounds in one stone. But remember that choosing 10 as a base multiplier between units is just as arbitrary, it just happens to be more convenient when our number base also happens to be 10. If I were to choose, I would rather change our numeric system to use base 12 (divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6), or 60 (divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 30) instead of 10 (divisible by 2 and 5).

By the way, when did time as we know it, begin?
I believe it's pretty common knowledge these days that time began at big bang. Assuming our theoretical physicists are on the right track, of course.

What would be the problem with metric time for example?

The same as the problem of changing units. Despite having officially converted to the metric system, americans still use fahrenheit, feet, and gallons.

Time is perhaps the most important measurement unit in modern life. You get up at 06:00, start work at 8:00, lunch at 11:00, and drive home at 16:00. During workday you have scheduled three meetings at 8:15, 9:30, and 14:30. You have dinner at 17:00, and drive your kids to football practice at 18:00. Your favourite tv show starts at 21:00, and you go to bed at 23:00. If you start using your own metric time, you are not making society more "efficient", instead you are efficiently leaving yourself outside it (the society, that is).

Re:A more interesting question (1)

crowtc (633533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674357)

We started using time three weeks ago Tuesday - it was a rather painful experience for everyone, so we erased everyone's memory of the process and the preceding non-temporal existence.

New memories were implanted right after the switch. For problem areas having trouble with regular time delivery, we've instituted "Daylight Savings Time" to at least confuse you long enough for us to deliver the time in appropriate quantities.

ENJOY!

It makes me wonder (2, Insightful)

nickj6282 (896871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673691)

About the true meaning of "retrospect". Since all the signals our body produce take time to register in the brain, wouldn't all events by some strange definition always be "in retrospect"?

I have been in a few car accidents in my time, and I can say that time really does seem to slow down in that moment. I don't know if it's just the way I'm remembering those moments in time or if, at that exact moment, I really did feel like time slowed.

I wonder if the experiment mentioned was skewed by the fact that the subjects were never in any actual danger. They knew that they were in an experiment and there was little chance of harm. In a real-world situation, the potential for danger is real.

Re:It makes me wonder (1)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673957)

"...the potential for danger is real." And often, completely unexpected.

Re:It makes me wonder (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674111)

About the true meaning of "retrospect". Since all the signals our body produce take time to register in the brain, wouldn't all events by some strange definition always be "in retrospect"?

Yes. In fact it can be shown that our conscious awareness of decision making takes place after the decision is actually made. This is known as Libet's Delay [consciousentities.com] .

Sorry guys... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674133)

This study confirms my experience. Time slows down for me, but not for most of you. This so similar to the movie, it's freaking me out.

Re:It makes me wonder (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674349)

Since all the signals our body produce take time to register in the brain, wouldn't all events by some strange definition always be "in retrospect"?

Read these amazing books by James H. Austin, both MIT Press: Zen and the Brain [google.com] and Zen-Brain Reflections [google.com] .

In short, you are largely right. The Cortex activity (recognizing, searching for meaning, ...) takes around 0.3 seconds. The brain has a built-in time delay that makes it seem to you that what you experience that way is the present, when it is actually already past. It seems that certain changes in the brain, some of which induced through meditation and related techniques, can reconfigure the processing to leave that part out. The "perceiving more directly" or "living in the present" that these techniques often quote in their teaching actually has a material counterpart in the brain.

time = time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673701)

I think this was a flawed experiment from day one. Where did they get the notion that perception wasn't linked with time? This reminds me of some of the goofy experiments from MythBusters.

Their experiment belongs more in the realm of parapsychology than science. It seems they were really testing for the presence of a 6th sense that perceives the speed of time and not truly whether time slows down. If time slows down, so would anything metered by time, like perception. This experiment really proves nothing and gave them an excuse to jump into a big net for fun. Gotta love junk science.

Time doesn't slow down but our perception does? (5, Interesting)

zalas (682627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673715)

I think our perception of the passage of time in the past is purely based on our memories. Thus, certain things that are very memorable will probably mess around with our perception of the flow of time during that moment. For example, if you remember nothing after passing out from drinking and wake up the next day, you probably wouldn't feel like you actually spent all that time lying on the floor.

I dunno.... (5, Funny)

framauro13 (1148721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673725)

I question the testing method. It should include subjects sitting in a cubicle after 4:30pm on a Friday.

Sure time can slow down.... (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673737)

IANAP (I am not a physicist), but as far as I know it special relativity says: elapsed time depends on your velocity. In fact, more than time being relative and slowing down, the only reference frame when time is constant is when all objects being considered are moving at the same relative speed.

.... Oh wait, you meant, can our perception of time speed up during accidents.

Re:Sure time can slow down.... (1)

rb4havoc (822483) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674161)

Finally! Someone spells out one of these non-sensical acronyms! IGTOSAIDK (I get tired of seeing acronyms I don't know).

Hell yes! (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673747)

Don't spend that much money on studies to verify if time slows down, just look at a big-boobed-girl running down the road, I'm pretty sure you'll notice that slowdown...

wow (1)

ByKai (1199767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673761)

'We discovered that people are not like Neo in The Matrix,'
took a real genius to figure that out

What's the point? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673765)

The whole experiment seems misguided. I mean, to the extent that such an effect has been suggested to exist at all, it seems to be described as being tied to attention focussed on a stressing event that produces an adrenaline rush and which concentrates attention on that event. It doesn't seem reasonable to expect that you'd be able to detect the effect by seeing how fast people can read off numbers unrelated to the stressing event; sure, you might see an increase in the speed there if the effect was real, you might also see no effect, or see a decrease if the effect on focussing attention on specific events outweighed the perceptual "slowdown".

While, of course, the slowdown being an artifact of memory rather than a change in perception that actually happens in real time is a reasonable speculation, the experiment described doesn't seem to be one that would reliably differentiate between the two cases.

Re:What's the point? (1)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674175)

The question is this, which is poorly phrased in the summary:

When in a stressful event, does our perception of time actually slow down in such a way that we can experience more? The implication being that our brain would apparently be working at a faster speed.

They say no. We think we saw time slow down, but our mental faculties were not accelerated at all.

Brilliant... (1)

log1385 (1199377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673775)

"We discovered that people are not like [a fictional character] in [a fictional science fiction movie]". What will those brilliant scientists discover next?

Slow down?!? What?!? (2, Insightful)

jbarr (2233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673793)

Heck, at 42, time is moving forward faster than it ever has. Days, weeks, and months are going by quicker than I ever remember, and I see NO sign of it slowing.

Seriously, though, I see it as a matter of perspective. When I was younger, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" seemed to be the mantra because it seemed to take forever for things to happen. Maybe it's because I have adopted more patience over the years, so the waiting isn't as noticeable.

The elapse of time (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673797)

is decided by several factors:
  • Which side of the toilet door you are.
  • How urgent your business is
  • If there is a deadline
  • At which latitude you are located.
  • How close to a black hole you are.
  • And many more with more or less influence...

Re:The elapse of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673997)

Dude, the first and fifth were soo Douglas Adams, the rest is just (r4p

Research or Disneyland ride? (2, Funny)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673819)

Clearly, I'm writing grants for the wrong kind of research. This would be one hell of a lot more fun than playing with infectious diseases.

Time dialation and marijuana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673821)

I wonder if the short-term memory effects of MJ might explain the time dialation effect of a good buzz.

In Other News (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673835)

ACME Corporation reports that its patented anvil parachutes are still operating at a 100% success rate of failure.

Invalid conclusion? (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673837)

I'm not a neuroscientist, but it seems like you're kinda taking a jump to get to this conclusion from this experiment. Even though your senses may still be going "at the normal rate", it doesn't take into account any sort of internal speedup that may occur...

Y'know... (1)

Cleon (471197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673839)

You'd think this was something from Mythbusters.

Understatement of new Millennium (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673907)

'We discovered that people are not like Neo in The Matrix,' Eagleman said.

Wow, good to hear that things like world hunger, oil dependence, and disease have been solved and there is time for experiments of this caliber. Now that the question of if we are in fact all Neos in Matrices is also settled, the world can live in peace!

Re:Understatement of new Millennium (5, Insightful)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674279)

I'm glad you've taken a break out of your busy schedule of ending world hunger, finding a replacement for oil, and curing every disease to comment on Slashdot. It's good to have you here.

Time does not exist !! (1)

klosskorban (560039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673911)

It is a measure of distance or degradation in an timeless universe.

Einstein said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673935)

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours that's relativity."

OFCOARSE TIME SLOWS DOWN (1)

000zero000 (788771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673945)

they just forget to take the red pill before running the experiment

Only testing the preprocessor. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673947)

To use a computer analogy (which seems appropriate in this case):

IMHO they're only testing the visual preprocessor speed, in a situation where the expected effect is bringing online more processing power and/or modifying the task scheduling and priorities for better response time on normally background tasks that have become life-critical.

Talk about... (1)

le0p (932717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673953)

a waste of time.

You failed to test me! (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673955)

I guarantee I'll see every # and recite them two at a time starting from the middle of the set!

Time Frequently Slows Down (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673959)

There is an old joke, "If you want to live forever then go live in a small town because every day is like a freak'n eternity."

I personally can attest that time slows down in business meetings, lines, traffic, and at chick flicks I'm forced to watch.

We discovered that people are not like Neo... (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674009)

Of course, they didn't give them the red pill first. Or even do a red pill/blue pill double blind.
What kind of research is that?
In any case none of them made the jump the first time anyway...

the Zone (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674019)

I remember hearing a story way back when about perceptions slowing down for atheletes, which was referred to as "being in the zone."

I experienced that as well a few times as a kid playing sports. I just figured that at certain points, for some unknown reason, my perceptions slowed things down.

Can Time Slow Down? (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674021)

Only in a Math class or when your Mother-In-Law is visiting.

OMG! It actually does work.... (2, Funny)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674031)

That's why I can type all this and then hit

And then I get this message!

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They were distracted (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674039)

I think I'm going to do a study on the human perception of jumping into a net versus jumping into a net while trying to read a clock. In a follow up experiment I will study the human perception of jumping into a net versus being shot.

Interesting experiment (1)

heinzkunz (1002570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674063)

I expected that the adrenaline would improve the ability to recognize the numbers. But the experiment shows that adrenaline doesn't unlock extra abilities (regarding perception at least) that couldn't be achieved by just concentrating on the task.

They didn't suggest time actually slowed... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674073)

They suggested the logical thing, that in time of panic/crisis, our perception/thought processes speed up to make it possible to contemplate the situation and take possible action, therefore things that are normally too fast for our normal eyes/mind to process, might be capable of being processed when those systems 'overclock'. Like an adrenaline rush gives us more than typical use of our muscles, something similar may happen to the mind and associated sensory organs.

Their results suggest that during such an event, our minds/eyes don't actually speed up to perceive time more slowly, but rather the mind burns that memory in such that it feels longer.

To quantify with fresh-from-my-ass numbers focusing on visual experience only, presume the normal perception of a given person is about 30 frames per second. The thought was that just *maybe*, the systems boosted enough to perceive 45 frames per second, in the name of gleaning every possible usable detail of the environment before it's too late. The outcome suggests that is not the case. Rather, say we do perceive 30 frames per second, but in the medium/long term our brain records, say, 3 frames per second worth of low detail, as most of that information is useless to us (we just remember the Cliff's Notes version of our lives, and our brain doesn't even process more than that nominally beyond very basic stuff). However, after surviving a situation that felt like it could have been fatal, our brain retains, say, 15 frames per second at a more vivid level into a longer memory term, to remind us of everything that went wrong leading to that so that it may be avoided.

I wouldn't be surprised if a future study proved this one to be lacking and that some perceptual speed up at the moment of panic does happen, but I'm also not surprised if such a perceptual speedup simply does not exist. In the cases where this 'slow-mo' memory occurs, there would have been nothing you could have physically done with your body to leverage anything you normally would not perceive at all.

Personal experience says otherwise. (1)

bannerman (60282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674085)

When I was a kid, I wrecked my bicycle while traveling around 20 mph (top speed baby!) on a downhill stretch of pavement near Battery Russel on the Oregon Coast. Not a huge life threatening event, but at the time it seemed quite serious. I remember thinking I had stopped rolling, putting my hand out to get up, and spraining my wrist as I rolled over it. At the ripe old age of 12 I was wondering if perhaps I could figure out how to get my brain to work like that all the time so I could be a superhero.

Brain speeds up but inputs stay same speed? (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674087)

I think your brain does a lot really fast if you think you are about to die. I don't think that means you suddenly get super eyes or vastly improved functionality from motor control and/or visual processing parts of the brain.

It's more than remembering it different because the person almost died. I should probably go RTFA now...

Survival reaction? (1)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674105)

I always thought this phenomenon was a survival reaction. You body basically pumps out an enormous amount of adrenaline which clears your head, keeps you from panic, and increases your maximum physical capabilities (Even though you can injure yourself due to over exertion when it wears off).

I don't think that time slows down I think that you temporarily speed up and your perception of time is skewed.

Re:Survival reaction? (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674281)

Professional Athletes (and probably anyone who is dedicated to a sport) often experience the "game slowing down" in a similar measure, where they are at a physical level where they simply react faster and their perception is that everyone else is moving slower. It's biological. When you're tuned more to what you're doing, and you get better at it, you react faster and percieve what is going on better.

The Matrix thing was a bug... (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674115)

God saw "The Matrix" as well, and has since corrected the universe. Before the movie came out, you -could- run up the wall, if you wanted to (and were convinced enough that it would work). Now you can't. Same thing for time slowing down.

Wrong experiment. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674149)

Time doesn't (of course) slow down in such situations. Your perception speeds up, which is to say, you start processing more information, probably much of it in parallel.

They should repeat the experiment, this time with the chronometers calibrated to legible speed, but give the subject a half-dozen or more of them to read the numbers off of at once.

Although I rather suspect that this phenomenon may be more geared toward processing and reacting to data relevant to the situation (ie, that which will help you survive) than to some arbitrary task like reading numbers off a dial (unless those numbers are relevant - airspeed, for example).

Answer: (1)

thedarkone64 (890959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674153)

No

Time distortion is a hypnotic phenomena (5, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674155)

The human perception of Time is a subjective experience. With training, one can either speed up or slow down how fast things seem to be going.

What usually happens is that the boring minutes seem to drag, and the pleasurable moments pass too quickly. One can use hypnosis/etc to switch this around, so that boring hours can seem to pass in minutes, and the good times seem to last forever. Bandler addresses this in his Design Human Engineering [designhuma...eering.com] system. Milton Erickson, M.D. (psychiatrist who specialized in fixing people with hypnosis) also used time distortion in his work, iirc (and was the original inspiration for much of the NLP founders' developments). Any good book on hypnotic phenomena should cover time distortion too...

It Can! (1)

Kid Moxie (1201749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674157)

'Cause when I'm with you, baby, time stands still!

Absolutely Not ! (1)

hasanen (745497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674165)

I have been through something scary before.....well lots of things but the most scary one was when a masked man with a gun was chasing me !! And I can tell you , Time did NOT slow down !!!

Whew! (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674199)

> 'We discovered that people are not like Neo in The Matrix,'

Therefore humans are not being used as living batteries for a race of mad robots. Come on, isn't that what they REALLY wanted to learn from the study?

abstract concept (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674217)

time is only there, as it is, because we measure it. one event in relation to another. a car crash, time may feel like its slowed down because of your seeing that few seconds as a major event, so it seems longer, and grander. where, for someone on the outside, who it doesnt directly affect, it only lasts for a second or two.

What you see is NOT what you get (1)

rgbe (310525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674253)

To my layman's understanding of the brain, this experiment is just measuring the rate at which the visual cortex is seeing things. It does not account for the fact that the brain may actually be working quicker behind the scenes.

no so much (1)

kenj0418 (230916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674285)

Does time slow down when you are in a traffic accident or other life threatening crisis

Yes, if you hit a tree while moving at 290000 km/s or if the other life threatening crisis is an approaching black hole, then yes, time does slow down. Otherwise -- no.

Only proved tachypsyche is not cognitive (2, Interesting)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674289)

... this experiment has to be the dumbest ever. Made without a shred of preliminary investigation. "Tachypsyche" produces tunnel vision under extreme fight stress. It is well known to martial artists and some gunfighters. It probably should be research, but not with counterproductive tools.

"I think, therefore it exists?" (1)

Vexler (127353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674307)

Slow news day, Taco? Or just not enough editorial savvy?
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