Saturday, 16 June 2012

Time Warped

Time is a funny old thing. It drags whilst we’re at work or in a waiting room yet flies by at the weekend and everyone is convinced that times speeds up as we get older. In Time Warped, Claudia Hammond looks at the theories behind why this happens, investigating the mind boggling world of time perception.

It’s an incredibly fascinating book for anyone that has wondered why time appears to change so much. Perhaps if you already know a lot of psychology the book re-treads familiar subjects but for the curious minded, it is at just the right level to be educational and entertaining. The inner workings of the brain are miraculous and mysterious, and Claudia is keen to imply that there are no absolutes in the science of psychology. There are many theories mentioned which have been debunked but overall it gives an all-round picture of what might be going on inside our heads.

Some of the experiments are downright bizarre. Most are historical and none are Claudia’s doing; from the volunteers who were dropped backwards off the top of a skyscraper to the Frenchman who lived in an ice cave for two months. Yet what strikes me most, is that most of what we’ve learned has come though those who have suffered brain trauma or live with mental illness.

Whilst it’s not a self-help book, the final chapter is entitled Changing Your Relationship with Time which gives a few tips to some of the most common aspects we perceive as problems. I had joked at work that I’d learn how to make the day go faster by the end, but this was the weakest part of the book. Some of it was due to the nature of my job and others felt like things that you could have picked up easily by paying attention to the previous chapters. Yet overall, it was a fascinating read and has made me want to read her other book, Emotional Rollercoaster.

Time Warped is published by Canongate as is currently available in hardback, trade paperback and ebook formats. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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6 comments:

  1. Sounds fascinating! I studied Psychology and time perception was one topic that I was particularly interested in. That was years ago, so this may be a new look on the matter. A book to keep in mind!

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  2. Thanks so much for reviewing this, I must get my hands on a copy as soon as possible! I did neuropsychology at uni so looked at time from a perception perspective and now I'm doing astrophysics I'm looking at it in another way completely. It'll be interesting to see where this book fits in.

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  3. This sounds quite interesting although psychology isn't my favourite subject in the world. I do like that cover.

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  4. I'll have to look for this one. Sounds like a fun read to me.

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  5. Looks and sounds fascinating, Ellie! I wish I could learn how to make time at work go faster when it's excrutiatingly slow :))) and slow down happy moments.

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  6. It sounds like a great reading. I had heard about the lineal perception of time we have and how it is not real or accurate.

    I don't know what you're waiting to share how to make a day go faster, Ellie :P

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