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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