You must log in or register to comment.

AutoModerator t1_jbv5n1n wrote

Welcome to r/science! This is a heavily moderated subreddit in order to keep the discussion on science. However, we recognize that many people want to discuss how they feel the research relates to their own personal lives, so to give people a space to do that, personal anecdotes are allowed as responses to this comment. Any anecdotal comments elsewhere in the discussion will be removed and our normal comment rules apply to all other comments.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.


old_guitarist OP t1_jbv5oms wrote


Perception of passing time can be distorted. Emotional experiences, particularly arousal, can contract or expand experienced duration via their interactions with attentional and sensory processing mechanisms. Current models suggest that perceived duration can be encoded from accumulation processes and from temporally evolving neural dynamics. Yet all neural dynamics and information processing ensue at the backdrop of continuous interoceptive signals originating from within the body. Indeed, phasic fluctuations within the cardiac cycle impact neural and information processing.

Here, we show that these momentary cardiac fluctuations distort experienced time and that their effect interacts with subjectively experienced arousal. In a temporal bisection task, durations (200–400 ms) of an emotionally neutral visual shape or auditory tone (experiment 1) or of an image displaying happy or fearful facial expressions (experiment 2) were categorized as short or long.

Across both experiments, stimulus presentation was time-locked to systole, when the heart contracts and baroreceptors fire signals to the brain, and to diastole, when the heart relaxes, and baroreceptors are quiescent. When participants judged the duration of emotionally neural stimuli (experiment 1), systole led to temporal contraction, whereas diastole led to temporal expansion.

Such cardiac-led distortions were further modulated by the arousal ratings of the perceived facial expressions (experiment 2). At low arousal, systole contracted while diastole expanded time, but as arousal increased, this cardiac-led time distortion disappeared, shifting duration perception toward contraction. Thus, experienced time contracts and expands within each heartbeat—a balance that is disrupted under heightened arousal.


Grouchy-Cod-5908 t1_jbw1n1j wrote

Hours before work move like light speed, during work like cold molasses


DrewzerB t1_jbx3po8 wrote

This is quite an interesting dynamic to the anecdotal evidence that time seems to move faster as we age. I wonder if there are similar mechanisms in the brain.


-downtone_ t1_jbx6xa3 wrote

At low arousal, as the heart contracts/beats, time seems to go by faster. As the heart relaxes, time seems to go by slower.

As arousal increases, the pattern I mentioned about the heart beat/relax cycle disappears. Under high arousal, it shifts towards feeling like time goes by faster regardless of the beat/relax cycle.

That's how I read this at least.


LiteralSymbolism t1_jbxn67m wrote

You know how sometimes a few minutes or seconds feel really slow, or they go by super fast? This paper focused on the small side, on those few seconds that sometimes feel slow or fast, and they thought “hey maybe it’s related to the heart beating.”

So they went a proved a relationship between when your heart beats and the perceived passage of time, specifically during the 200-400 millisecond windows of “your heart is pumping blood” and “your heart is chilling, waiting to pump blood”. In the first state, time seemed to expand (ie felt longer), in the second state, time seemed to contract (or felt faster) according to study participants.

They also found that this effect nearly completely went away as one becomes more aroused, likely due to other more important factors like your brain interpreting something more interesting, which could easily muddy the results.


LiteralSymbolism t1_jbxo7qq wrote

Great ELI5, but I think you may have gotten those backwards? I’ve been trying to figure it out, but check this part of the paper:

“…with stimuli presented at diastole judged, on average, 9 ms longer (M = 305, SD = 25) than those at systole (M = 314, SD = 26).”

I think this saying in diastole (when the heart is beating), the time the participant felt an image was up was 9ms longer than when the heart wasn’t beating, and I would interpret that as time “expanding” since you feel like you’re spending a longer amount of time looking at a stimulus than you really are. Maybe this is just confusion about time “expanding” vs “contracting”.

Anyway, cool theory!


nico735 t1_jby43r2 wrote

And why really dangerous situations seem to go slowly perhaps?


WandFace_ t1_jby5yk3 wrote

I think that's because your senses go into hyperdrive and try to absorb as much information as possible but afterwards you remember it being slower as your brain is operating slower. It's like watching a fast movie slowed down because at the time of recording your brain was capturing things faster.


-downtone_ t1_jbyd3e4 wrote

That's what I thought at first but the time perception wiki states this: > Tachypsychia is a neurological condition that alters the perception of time, usually induced by physical exertion, drug use, or a traumatic event. For someone affected by tachypsychia, time perceived by the individual either lengthens, making events appear to slow down,[83] or contracts, with objects appearing as moving in a speeding blur.[84][85]

I'd say they need to be more descriptive because the language is not consistent it appears. I think it should be consistent. Thanks for looking at that if that's the case.


WhisperingShores t1_jbylrzz wrote

Interesting study, but it doesn't recognize individuals who are highly stimulated and yet perceive a slowed passage of time. We typically associate this perceived slow passage of time with a negative or noxious stimuli such as a danger, threat, or trauma. However, this perceived slowed time can also be experience in moments of positive stimuli.

It seems like an eternity when caught in the gaze of that beautiful or handsome person.

There is an earlier study one this phenomena that included consideration of the Sympathetic Nervous System. This is the system responsible for the "Flight or Flight" response and emotional responses to those stimuli.

However, this SNS response critically needs to be redefined as "Fight, Flight, or Freeze" response.

People can freeze in a moment of high stimulation and feel a slower passage of time, which is well documented. So my question is, when during such a Freeze Event, is the heart rate high or is there a sudden drop despite the high stimulation (shock)?

As far as I am concerned this is half a study and as such is misleading. The implication is that more is involved than just heart rate such as emotional state and awareness as to what is specifically occurring during the event.

The heart may be slowed in this Freeze while time is perceived to pass slower. This may be the body's and mind's way of protecting itself in the face of a sensory overload or too much stimulation. However, when we are overly stimulated we can forget details of an event, so this perceived slower passage of time allows for in increased remembrance of what occurred.

If the heart rate remains high during these Freezes, and the individual still experiences a high heart rate along with a slowed perceived time, this unless shock sets in, then the study is immediately debunked.