Felt Time Book Summary - Felt Time Book explained in key points
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Felt Time summary

Marc Wittmann

The Psychology of How We Perceive Time

3.8 (29 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Felt Time by Marc Wittmann is a science-based explanation of how our perception of time affects our emotions and experiences. It explores the concept of "lived time" and its impact on our memory, aging, and mindfulness practices.

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    Felt Time
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    We possess psychological and physiological clocks that help us stay tuned to the passage of time.

    Before the invention of clocks, how did humans gauge time? After all, clocks have only existed for a tiny fraction of human evolution’s long history.

    Luckily, we have psychological mechanisms that help us keep track of time.

    Oxford psychologist Michel Treisman put forward the pioneering idea of a psychological clock in the 1960s. According to Treisman, our brains have a pacemaker that emits pulses at regular intervals, and the pulses are collected by a counter in our minds. Our brains then determine the passage of time by the number of pulses the counter detects.

    Treisman argued that the counter registers time pulses only when we’re paying attention to the time – for instance, when we’re waiting for something. When we’re distracted and not thinking about the time, on the other hand, fewer pulses are counted, making time seem to pass more quickly.

    A more recent scientific theory of our psychological clock posits that we can estimate the temporal duration of events by gauging the amount of intellectual and emotional exertion they require.

    Consider how new experiences often feel like they last longer because they demand greater faculties of perception, thought and emotion.

    And guess what? We’ve been blessed with not just a psychological clock, but also a physiological one, known as our circadian rhythm.

    The circadian rhythm is a biological process of changes that happen to our bodies in response to daily light cycles. Cognitive performance is one of the things affected by our circadian rhythm – for example, many cognitive operations hit their peak before noon and slow down as the day progresses.

    Fascinatingly, our bodies follow circadian rhythms even if the sun isn’t visible.

    In the 1960s, psychologist Jurgen Aschoff conducted a set of experiments in which volunteers were kept in a room with no natural light. Despite being shut out from the outside world, Aschoff found that the volunteers’ sleep schedule and body temperature still followed a circadian rhythm.

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    What is Felt Time about?

    Felt Time (2014) examines how your brain processes time. These blinks present fascinating facts and theories about how our bodies perceive time, and offers advice on how to make the most of the present moment, deal with boredom and control the pace of our lives.

    Felt Time Review

    Felt Time (2016) by Marc Wittmann explores our perception of time and how it affects our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents fascinating insights into the mysteries of time, helping readers understand their relationship with it and how it shapes their experiences.
    • Backed by scientific research and thought-provoking examples, the book delves into the psychology of time perception, offering a fresh perspective on an essential aspect of our lives.
    • By examining the subjective nature of time, Wittmann challenges traditional notions, igniting curiosity and inviting readers to question their own understanding of this fundamental concept.

    Best quote from Felt Time

    Long-term memory is essential for our sense of self, as it enables us to know who we are.

    —Marc Wittmann
    example alt text

    Who should read Felt Time?

    • Psychologists, neuroscientists and brain researchers
    • People fascinated by the concept of time
    • Anyone wishing to reduce their stress levels

    About the Author

    Marc Wittmann is a German psychologist conducting research at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health.

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    Felt Time FAQs 

    What is the main message of Felt Time?

    The main message of Felt Time is that our perception of time is subjective and can be influenced by various factors.

    How long does it take to read Felt Time?

    The reading time for Felt Time varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Felt Time a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Felt Time is a thought-provoking and insightful book that offers a unique perspective on the concept of time. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Felt Time?

    The author of Felt Time is Marc Wittmann.

    What to read after Felt Time?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Felt Time, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Science of Living by Stuart Farrimond
    • The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • Being and Time by Martin Heidegger
    • You are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney
    • The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
    • The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
    • Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer
    • Finish by Jon Acuff
    • Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam