“Ready steady slow”: time slows down when we prepare to move
2012-09-06 0:00

By Ed Yong | DiscoverMagazine.com

A baseball speeds from the hands of a pitcher, a slave to Newton’s laws. But in the brain of the batter who is watching it, something odd happens. Time seems to dawdle. The ball moves in slow motion, and becomes clearer. Players of baseball, tennis and other ball sports have described this dilation of time. But why does it happen? Does the brain merely remember time passing more slowly after the fact? Or do experienced players develop Matrix-style abilities, where time genuinely seems to move more slowly?

According to five experiments from Nobuhiro Hagura at University College London, it’s the latter. When we prepare to make a movement – say, the swing of a bat – our ability to process visual information speeds up. The result: the world seems to move slower.

At first glance, this might seem to contradict a now-classic experiment by David Eagleman. He threw volunteers off a tall fairground ride and asked them to stare at a special watch, to see if their perception of time would slow. It didn’t. They merely remembered the experience as being long and drawn out afterwards.

But there’s a critical difference between the two studies. Eagleman studied time perception while people were actually undergoing a crisis—in this case, falling to their possible doom. But Hagura showed that time appears more leisurely before an event, rather than during it—when we’re preparing to move, rather than moving.

Hagura first asked volunteers to press a key for as long as a white disc appeared on a screen. The disc would then be replaced by a hollow target. In some trials, the volunteers had to release their key and touch the target. In others, they were told to keep pressing the key. In every case, they had to say how long the white disc stayed up for, compared to all the previous trials in the experiment. Hagura found that the volunteers deemed the durations to be longer if they were preparing to move, than if they were planning to keep still.

Perhaps the volunteers who were about to reach out were just more excited or attentive? Not so. When Hagura changed the task from pressing (or not pressing) the target, to naming (or ignoring) a letter, the time-slowing effect vanished. Preparing to move makes the difference, rather than just preparing for any old task.

In a third variation, the white disc was replaced by two possible targets instead of just one. In some trials, the disc had a line that told the volunteers which of the two targets was correct, allowing them to prepare the right movement. In other trials, there was no line, and the volunteers had to make their move when the two targets appeared. As you might have guessed by now, they thought the white disc stayed up longer if they were preparing to move their arm in a specific direction, but not if they were simply waiting.

These three sets of results support the idea that time moves more slowly when we prepare an action. But they could also be explained in the same way that Eagleman’s results were: Time only seemed to pass more slowly because the volunteers remembered it doing so.


Read the full article at: discovermagazine.com

Study: Time really does slow for top athletes

Related Articles
Physicist: HAARP Manipulates Time
2012: Seed Point of Fractal Time
Time Balls
In Time - Movie Trailer Official (Video)

Latest News from our Front Page

Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
2015-11-25 21:05
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris. Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
Paris Terrorist Was Gay 'Rent Boy', On The Run From Islamic State And Police
2015-11-25 20:16
The elusive eighth Paris attacker and one of three brothers implicated in the atrocity reportedly frequented gay clubs before the attack. He may have backed out of his mission at the last minute, and is possibly on the run from Islamic State as well as authorities. “We had him down as a rent boy, he was always hanging out with that ...
Norwegian school brutally kicks out students, reopens as immigration center
2015-11-25 1:46
A failing Norwegian school has brutally kicked out all of the students living there with just a few days notice to find somewhere else to live and study. It has now reopened as a reception center for immigrants. The school, called Waldorf, is in the Røyken municipality of Buskerud County. It had been failing for sometime, and was officially declared bankrupt ...
Why not hear about Islam from a woman who grew up as Muslim in the ME?
2015-11-25 1:52
Youtube description: She says: "I have reached a boiling point with these lies about Islam! Please share it, don't let me waste my breath....go to voxpopulinews.net for a translation of the ISIS website along with other great articles and podcasts!" Source: youtube.com
Funniest Moments of Illegal Migrants
2015-11-25 1:27
Youtube description: - Beginner picture: Macedonia - Disastrous migrant: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side) - Grateful migrants: Hungary (Budapest) - Border Control: Austria (Slovenian border) - Migrant actor: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side) - Intelligent migrants: Hungary-Serbia border (Hungarian arie) (The fence was built from the border 2,5meters, in Hungarian area) - Idiot migrant: Hungary (Bicske) Source: youtube.com
More News »