Summary of Felt Time

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Rating

8 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


Recommendation

Psychological researcher Marc Wittmann surveys scientific findings on the subjective experience of time. He focuses on such questions as: How long is a present moment? How does the brain synthesize a series of discrete moments into a continuous flow? Why does time appear to move faster and slower in different situations? Wittmann points out that research suggests an intimate connection between self-awareness and time’s apparent pace. Time flies when you lose awareness of yourself, say at a concert, but when you are stuck on hold, time drags as you focus on yourself and your unfortunate situation. Wittmann offers fascinating, provocative findings, but he organizes his material loosely, so he doesn’t quite wrap it all up in an obvious overarching theme, except perhaps advocating awareness as a way to keep your life from seeming to fly by. His synthesis of research will appeal to artists, communicators and all those who want to align their messages with the rhythms of human awareness.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the human brain experiences time,
  • Why subjective time passes at varying rates and
  • How mindfulness can help you make the most of your time.
 

About the Author

Marc Wittmann is a research fellow at Germany’s Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health.

 

Summary

A Matter of Time

Your body does not have an internal clock that accurately ticks off the minutes of your life. Your experience of time is subjective. Time’s pace can seem to speed up or slow down, depending on such variables as your emotions and attention. For example, when you are enjoying a movie, time seems to fly. But a few minutes stuck in traffic can make time feel interminable.


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