Time Warped Book Summary - Time Warped Book explained in key points

Time Warped summary

Claudia Hammond

Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception

4.4 (11 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Time Warped by Claudia Hammond explores the ways our brains perceive time. It offers fascinating insights into why time seems to fly by or drag on, and how we can make the most of the time we have.

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    Time Warped
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    Although time runs at a constant speed, our perception of it is affected by different factors.

    Have you ever wondered why time seems to drag on endlessly one day, while the next day it appears to fly by?

    What's behind this strange phenomenon?

    In short, our perception: While the flow of time itself doesn’t vary, our perception of it does.

    So what factors influence this perception?

    Firstly, our emotions. For example, when we’re afraid, we process all sense data – what we see, hear, smell, taste and feel – more thoroughly. When we process more information in a given period of time than usual, time seems to slow down.

    This phenomenon was tested by neuroscientist David Eagleman, who intentionally terrified his (willing) participants by throwing them off a skyscraper roof (don’t worry, they were wearing safety harnesses). The participants' fear caused their brains to process information in far greater detail, and consequently, time seemed to decelerate.

    The second factor in “time warping” is memory: the more memories we make, the more slowly time seems to pass. Furthermore, if we're experiencing a lot of stress, our senses are heightened, so we tend to make more memories.

    For example, imagine that you despise public speaking yet you're obligated to give a five-minute presentation. When you're finally up on that stage, you'll probably feel highly stressed. That stress will cause you to “record” the event in great detail, making a lot of memories – e.g., of the faces of the people in the front row.

    The result? Those five minutes will seem like an eternity.

    Finally, even something as mundane as body temperature can affect our time perception.

    Take psychologist Hudson Hoagland’s wife, who was bedridden with flu. Hoagland nursed his wife attentively, and didn't leave her alone for longer than a few minutes at any one time. Nevertheless, she complained that he was gone for much longer periods.

    Curious about her apparently warped sense of time, Hoagland performed an experiment which demonstrated that the higher his wife's fever, the more quickly a minute seemed to pass for her.

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    What is Time Warped about?

    Time Warped (2012) is about that enduring mystery: our perception of time. Using research from the fields of neuroscience, biology and psychology, Claudia Hammond investigates the many reasons why, on one day, time appears to pass rapidly, while on another, it seems to grind to a halt. In addition, Time Warped suggests ways in which we can control our individual experience of time.

    Time Warped Review

    Time Warped (2012) by Claudia Hammond is an intriguing exploration of the fascinating concept of time and how it affects our perception and experience of life. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • It delves into the complex psychology of time, offering thought-provoking insights that challenge our conventional understanding of it.
    • With captivating anecdotes and real-life examples, it illuminates the profound impact that time has on our emotions, memories, and decision-making.
    • The book artfully combines scientific research and personal interviews, providing a comprehensive and engaging exploration of this timeless subject.

    Best quote from Time Warped

    Time dictates the pattern of our lives – when we work, when we eat, even when we choose to celebrate.

    —Claudia Hammond
    example alt text

    Who should read Time Warped?

    • Anyone who thinks they have no time
    • Anyone who feels that time moves more quickly nowadays
    • Anyone who can’t remember the year Michael Jackson or Princess Diana died

    About the Author

    Claudia Hammond is an author, lecturer and broadcaster for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. She has won many awards for her work in representing science in the mainstream media. Hammond’s previous book was Emotional Rollercoaster: A Journey Through The Science Of Feelings, published in 2005.

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    Time Warped FAQs 

    What is the main message of Time Warped?

    Our perception of time is subjective and influenced by various factors.

    How long does it take to read Time Warped?

    Reading time varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

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

    Time Warped is a fascinating exploration of time perception, definitely worth a read.

    Who is the author of Time Warped?

    Claudia Hammond is the author of Time Warped.