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Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception Paperback – May 28, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“In Time Warped, Claudia Hammond… has a steady touch in conveying the research, adding user-friendly charm even to exhaustive descriptions of the mechanics of boredom. A chapter on visualization is particularly intriguing.” (Jascha Hoffman, New York Times)

“A well-researched meditation on how we see the future…. There’s one great question of time, one which of course this book cannot answer, but on which it gives a great deal of much-needed perspective: ‘How much do I have left?’ ” (Slate)

“…a fascinating foray into the idea that our experience of time is actively created by our own minds and how these sensations of what neuroscientists and psychologists call “mind time” are created.” (Maria Popova, BrainPickings)

“This lively introduction to the psychology of time perception is an intriguing take on the fluidity of reality.” (Publishers Weekly)

“This is an ideal read for those looking for science-based theories of time perception without the scientific jargon…. Despite the common belief that time moves at a constant pace, Hammond demonstrates how life’s circumstances can make minutes seem an eternity and decades the blink of an eye.” (Library Journal)

From the Back Cover

Why does life speed up as we get older? Why does the clock in your head sometimes move at a different speed from the one on the wall? Time rules our lives, but how much do we understand it? And is it possible to retrain our brains and improve our relationship with it?

Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biology, and using original research on the way memory shapes our understanding of time, the acclaimed writer and BBC broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception. Along the way, she introduces us to an extraordinary array of characters willing to go to great lengths in the interests of research, including the French speleologist Michel Siffre, who spends two months in an ice cave in complete darkness.

Time Warped offers insight into how to manage our time more efficiently, speed time up and slow it down at will, plan for the future with more accuracy, and, ultimately, use the warping of time to our own advantage.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062225200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062225207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Claudia Hammond is a writer, broadcaster, and psychology lecturer. She is the voice of psychology on BBC Radio 4 where she is the host of All in the Mind and Mind Changers. She is the author of one previous book, Emotional Rollercoaster, and is also a part-time member of faculty at Boston University in London. Hammond has won the British Psychological Society's Public Engagement & Media Award, the Society for Personality & Social Psychology's Media Award, and the Public Understanding of Neuroscience Award from the British Neuroscience Assocation.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Gustavo E. Romero on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book deals with an interesting topic: time perception and its neurophysiological basis. Unfortunately, the book is little more than a succession of anecdotes and personal stories. The scientific information is scarce and weakly presented. The style adopted, plenty of self-references and boring stories, is more appropriate of a weekly entertainment magazine than of a science book. It seems that Ms. Hammond read somewhere that in order to catch the attention of the reader is recommended to start every chapter, even every section, with a story, then keep the "suspense" till the end, and in the middle to write a few science comments. She abuses of this method to the extreme. The whole book is a clear illustration of how the perception of time slows down when you experience a painful situation. Reading, in this case. There is more information in a single popular article, such as "Brain time" by E.D. Eagleman, that you can get for free in the web, than in this whole book. Save your time and money, and avoid this book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat on July 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an entertaining book about time and the way we think about it, are misled by it and how it misleads us. It looks at how some people see time in pictorial form and how others don't see it all; how the future can rush towards you and how you rush towards the future and how time can seem to fly by as you get older. The book is also about our memory of the past and how everyone finds it difficult to put dates against events unless there is a `hook' on which to hang the information.

There is a fascinating chapter about synaesthesia and the way people attach colours to days of the week and see time laid out around them like a three dimensional map or a clock face. I found it interesting to read about why time seems to slow down if we are in a stressful situation to the extent that we think an event lasts a lot longer than it actually does. There are insights into how the kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnson coped with time during his imprisonment when he was kidnapped by a rebel group while doing his job.

The last chapter in the book contains some useful advice on time management techniques based on research and may just help you to come to grips with the way your time just seems to trickle through your fingers. There are notes on all chapters and an index and the book is written in a light hearted but informative style.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It can come as no surprise that the perception of time by the brain is more complex than we had previously thought. As with many other perceptual judgements, it appears that the seat of time perception is located in more than one location in the brain. (Another example is pain.) The author's premise is "the experience of time is actively created by our minds." She then proceeds with a well documented inventory of the theories and experiments concerning time perception.

In the first chapter, the author makes the point that we are free to read the chapters of the book in our own order. I think this statement points to a weakness in the book. Ironically, the flow of the prose seems to bog at times and to speed up in others. I found that the logic in her own organisation of her writing was not always apparent to me. While the book held my interest for the most part, I wearied of her continual return to her own time perceptions. I realize this is a point of reference for her, but ultimately it wore out my attention. Further, in an effort to create some suspense, I am assuming; she spaces out the narrative of several of the key examples of time being warped by the stimuli around the experience. I did not like this technique. I prefer to have points made succinctly.

Overall, however, I found a lot to appreciate in this book. I was able to familiarize myself with past and present theories in a format that was accessable and well referenced. THis book would be considered popular science, but the author was able to avoid "dumbing down" the material. This is a subject that is certainly a factor for all of us. We are often reminded that our multi focus, fast paced world is destroying our core ability to cope with our inner thoughts. I think this book provides a framework for that discussion that I am happy to have read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey on May 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
`Time Warped' is a fascinating and informative book exploring the concept of time and how the mind perceives it.

It looks at such things as how time seems to go slow when we are bored and how it speeds up as we age and other things in a similar vein. This is easy to read and has plenty of anecdotes to clarify the points being made and to further explain them. It also has some mini experiments you can try yourself to see how your own mind perceives time.

The last chapter pulls together all the things explained in the rest of the book and shows you how you can adjust your thinking to help you speed up or slow down time depending on your preference, which can help when you are in a queue or if you feel your life is slipping you by without you realising it.

Most of the book is very strong and readable and kept me interested as I flew through the pages. The exception has to be the chapter on time and synaesthesia. I have read a great deal about synaesthesia in the past and find it a fascinating topic, but here the author seemed to labour the point and go on in too great a depth, with some rather tenuous links at times. Apart from this one chapter, I found this a enjoyable read and would recommend it to most people who enjoy popular science books and basic psychology

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