Time Warped by Claudia Hammond - review

by Rebecca Priestley / 13 December, 2012
Some of the best parts of the book are interviews with people such as BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who lost track of time while spending four months as a hostage in Gaza, says Rebecca Priestley.
Time Warped by Claudia Hammond

Did you know you have a reminiscence bump? We remember more from our teens and twenties than from any other time in our lives. Why? “Because of novelty,” says Claudia Hammond in Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception. It’s during this time that most of us have our “first sexual relationships, first jobs, first travel without parents”. All this rich novelty of experience helps us pack away more memories, and it later feels like time passed more slowly back then.

But why do 10 minutes feel like forever when you’re waiting for a bus but like no time at all when you’re ice fishing in Antarctica? And why, in middle age, do the hours and days seem to pass by as usual while the months and years seem to rush by? How can some people wake up and know exactly what the time is? And why do some people with brain injuries lose the ability to imagine the future?

In response, Hammond says no specific part of the brain has been found to control our perception of time, but body temperature, emotions such as fear, anxiety and rejection, conditions such as ADHD and depression, and the novelty or complexity of an experience have all been found to play a role in our perception of time.

This book accompanies a series of radio programmes produced for BBC Radio 4. Much of the research is based on recent psychological studies, but some of the best parts of the book are interviews with people such as BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who lost track of time while spending four months as a hostage in Gaza, and Kiwi base-jumper Chuck Berry, for whom 10 seconds in free fall can feel like an eternity.

TIME WARPED: UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF TIME PERCEPTION, by Claudia Hammond (Canongate $39.99).

Rebecca Priestley is the Listener’s science columnist and author of Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age.
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

A post-mortem on Todd Barclay and Matt McCarten's fiascos
76497 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Politics

A post-mortem on Todd Barclay and Matt McCarten's …

by Jane Clifton

In the catalogue of disaster, is a Todd Barclay worse than a Matt McCarten?

Read more
The Trump family's Kremlin connection
76655 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z World

The Trump family's Kremlin connection

by Paul Thomas

From “nothing to see here” to a Cold War-era spy story played out in real life, the Trump family’s Kremlin connection is a source of fascination.

Read more
The Journey – movie review
76661 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Movies

The Journey – movie review

by James Robins

A van isn’t a great vehicle for a drama on how old enemies ended the Troubles.

Read more
Gaylene Preston on the difficulties of filming at the United Nations
76664 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Gaylene Preston on the difficulties of filming at …

by David Larsen

Tracking Helen Clark’s tilt for the top job at the United Nations, Gaylene Preston documented the creatures of the diplomatic world.

Read more
Jackie van Beek puts the gags aside for The Inland Road
76815 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Jackie van Beek puts the gags aside for The Inland…

by Russell Baillie

Best known for her comedy roles, Jackie van Beek takes a dramatic detour in her feature-directing debut.

Read more
Parisian Neckwear plays the long game, even as its centenary approaches
76427 2017-07-24 00:00:00Z Small business

Parisian Neckwear plays the long game, even as its…

by Rob O'Neill

Parisian Neckwear, founded in 1919, has survived depression, war, deregulation and a deluge of cheap imports. How? Just feel the cloth.

Read more
David Tamihere case: Key witnesses' doubts about murder of Swedish tourists
76738 2017-07-23 00:00:00Z Crime

David Tamihere case: Key witnesses' doubts about m…

by Donna Chisholm

Nearly 30 years after young Swedish tourists Urban Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen disappeared in the Coromandel key witnesses say the mystery haunts them.

Read more
Modern slavery and tourism: when holidays and human exploitation collide
76728 2017-07-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

Modern slavery and tourism: when holidays and huma…

by The Conversation

With the advent of orphanage tourism, travellers think they're doing good. But they can often just be lining the pockets of the orphanages' owners.

Read more