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How Time Can Speed Up Or Slow Down

Ian Skelton

As humans, we can bend or manipulate time.When we’re sick, time seems to drag on. When we’re having fun, it may speed up.

BBC broadcaster Claudia Hammond details her findings on the phenomenon in her book "Time Warped," and she'll discuss them at t 1:30 p.m. Thursday during IdeaFestival.In a recent interview, Hammond said we can learn to manipulate time by doing things like cramming in more activities into our daily lives.For example, she said, weekends may seem like they whiz by if you stay at home or visit a familiar restaurant. Why? Because you’re not making any new memories.“But if you decide to pack it with all sorts of different things … you decide to go to a new place on Saturday morning and somewhere else you’ve never been to on Saturday afternoon, the weekend will seem like it goes fast. But when you look back say on Sunday night and you’ve got to go to work again, you look back and it will feel like it’s been a long time since you were at work, and that’s because you’ve done so many new things and created so many new memories.”Here's more of the interview: Interview with Claudia HammondHave studies looked at whether people want time to speed up or slow down?“It’s very common, particularly in middle age, in the research that’s been done, for people to say that time is going by too fast and that they don’t like it going so fast, and that they’d like it to slow down. But actually, when you look at the situations when time goes slowly they’re not necessarily situations you’d really like to have. So, for example, it’s been found that if people are feeling depressed then time goes twice as slowly. And if people are feeling lonely time goes slowly. If people are feeling rejected time goes slowly.”What do people who are at the end of their life say?“You would think that as people were approaching the end of their life knowing that there was a limited number of days or years that they’ve got left that they would feel as though it was suddenly going really fast. Well that isn’t what happens. So middle age is the time when it really seems to whiz by and then things calm down a bit later on, which I think is quite reassuring really because I think you wouldn’t want to think you were kind of hurtling towards an end.”This is part of a series of interviews with IdeaFestival speakers.  Find more online here,and tune in to 89.3 at 1 p.m. Thursday to hear some of them.

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