Slow motion perception

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Slow Motion Perception)
Jump to: navigation, search

Slow motion perception is a postulated mental state wherein time seems to be slowed down. People experiencing life-threatening situations sometimes report that time seemed to have slowed down.

Slow motion perception is a very conflicted area of research right now with many different theories. Research conducted by David Eagleman established that time does not actually slow down for a person during a life-threatening event but, rather, it is only a retrospective assessment that brings about such a conclusion. He measured time perception during free-fall by strapping palm-top computers to subjects' wrists and having them perform psychophysical experiments as they fall. By measuring their speed of information intake, he concluded that participants did not have increased temporal resolution during the fall but, because their memories are more densely packed during a frightening situation, the event merely seems to have taken longer.[1] However, this experiment did not take into account a subject's level of focus on performing a useful action, which seems, according to new research by the University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, to actually slow down time perception.[2] In addition, an analysis of multiple other experiments spanning from the 1970s to 2010s, including Eagleman's study, by Valtteri Arstila suggests that while Eagleman's theory may not be wrong, in some cases it seems time perception does indeed slow down.[3] Furthermore, research into stimulant-dependent subjects show a consistent change in time for processing visual and other information when under the effects.[4] Therefore, while some cases of danger may not spark slow motion perception merely causing a similar effect in memories, it seems that in other cases time perception actually does slow down.

History and introduction[edit]

There is no reference of slow motion perception in books prior to the industrial revolution[citation needed]. After the industrial revolution, when vehicles for faster transportation were made available, people who underwent car or motorbike accidents reported that they perceived time slowing down or stretching just before and during the accidents. For a person standing on the road watching the accident, the perceived duration of the accident may have been a fraction of a second but for the person undergoing the accident, the perceived duration of the accident can stretch to several seconds.

There is a traditional model that tries to explain the mechanism of time perception: when there is an accident or unexpected events, the brain concentrates more on information processing, and the rate at which it processes information increases. Since the rate goes up, the brain perceives longer time due to concentrated information in the interval.

However, Terao et al. suggested that the amount of energy expended by neurons decides the duration. According to Terao et al., the duration of accident gets longer because neurons exert a lot of energy in a short interval.[5]


According to Steve Taylor, senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and author of Making Time book, clock time may be about minutes and hours but real time is down to how we experience it and it differs from person to person. For instance, during high-stress situations, such as an accident, the brain receives massive amounts of data to process which alters the brain's perception of time. This is believed to be an evolutionary mechanism adapted by the brain to increase human survival rates. Therefore, during an accident a person can react quickly and make a decision in a short period of time.[6]

A recent research model proposes that the perception of space and time undergoes strong distortions during rapid saccadic eye movements.[7] The expectation of perceived motion is necessary for anticipatory slow eye movements.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stetson C, Fiesta MP, Eagleman DM (2007). "Does time really slow down during a frightening event?". PLoS ONE. 2 (12): e1295. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001295. PMC 2110887Freely accessible. PMID 18074019. 
  2. ^ Condliffe, Jamie. "Time Really Does Seem to Slow Down for Athletes". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017-12-05. 
  3. ^ Arstila, Valtteri (2012-06-27). "Time Slows Down during Accidents". Frontiers in Psychology. 3. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00196. ISSN 1664-1078. PMC 3384265Freely accessible. PMID 22754544. 
  4. ^ Wittmann, Marc; Leland, David S.; Churan, Jan; Paulus, Martin P. (2007-10-08). "Impaired time perception and motor timing in stimulant-dependent subjects". Drug and alcohol dependence. 90 (2-3): 183–192. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.03.005. ISSN 0376-8716. PMC 1997301Freely accessible. PMID 17434690. 
  5. ^ David M Eagleman (2008) Current Opinion in Neurobiology 18 (2), pg. 131-136
  6. ^ Geoghagen, Tom. "Turn back the clock". BBC News Magazine. 
  7. ^ Cicchini G, Binda P and Morrone M (2009). A model for the distortions of space and time perception during saccadic movement. Front. Syst. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: Computational and systems neuroscience 2009. doi:10.3389/conf.neuro.06.2009.03.349
  8. ^ Boman, D.K., "Motion perception prominence alters anticipatory slow eye movements" "Experimental Brain Research", 1989

External links[edit]