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Felt Time: The Psychology of How We Perceive Time – by Dr. Marc Wittmann

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This book goes far beyond the obvious “time flies when you’re having fun / passes slowly when bored”, or “time seems quicker as we get older”. It does address those topics too, but even in doing so, unravels deeper intricacies within.

The author, a research psychologist, includes plenty of reference to actual hard science here, and even beyond subjective self-reports. For example, you know how time seems to slow down upon immediate apparent threat of violent death (e.g. while crashing, while falling, or other more “violent human” options)? We learn of an experiment conducted in an amusement park, where during a fear-inducing (but actually safe) plummet, subjective time slows down yes, but measures of objective perception and cognition remained the same. So much for adrenal superpowers when it comes to the brain!

We also learn about what we can change, to change our perception of time—in either direction, which is a neat collection of tricks to know.

The style is on the dryer end of pop-sci; we suspect that being translated from German didn’t help its levity. That said, it’s not scientifically dense either (i.e. not a lot of jargon), though it does have many references (which we like to see).

Bottom line: if you’ve ever wished time could go more quickly or more slowly, this book can help with that.

Click here to check out Felt Time, and make yours count!

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