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Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception [Paperback]

Claudia Hammond
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 May 2013

Winner of the 2013 British Psychological Society's Book Awards Popular Science category.

Time rules our lives, but how much do we really understand it?

In Time Warped, we meet the people willing to go to extreme lengths to find out. They travel to Costa Rica to find out if hummingbirds can sense the passage of time, they walk towards the edge of a stairwell blindfolded and one man spends two months in an ice cave in total darkness - all in an attempt to fathom the tricks time can play on our minds.

Drawing on the latest research from psychology, neuroscience and biology, award-winning BBC Radio4 presenter Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception. She shows us how to manage time more efficiently, why it speeds up as you get older and, ultimately, how to use the warping of time to our own advantage.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (2 May 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1847677916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847677914
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A fascinating and at times mind-boggling book that will change the way you think about time (Carl Wilkinson Financial Times)

[A] lively account of our perception of time (Robin McKie Observer)

With an engaging, light touch, [Claudia Hammond] describes the ingenious experiments psychologists have devised to explore how our brains construct - and warp - time (Richard Webb New Scientist)

A serious, journalistic attempt to analyse existing research into the human perception of time (Nick Curtis Evening Standard)

Engaging throughout, Time Warped will give you a better idea of your personal measurement of time. It covers complex ideas...without any reduction of scope (Ben Critchley We Love This Book)

She weaves a beautifully constructed story out of the puzzles that preoccupy us about the way we experience time, and the cutting-edge science that tries to make sense of it (Raymond Tallis Mail on Sunday)

A fascinating new book... Time Warped is highly engaging and accessible (Doug Johnstone Big Issue)

Engagingly written and thoroughly accessible (Good Book Guide)

An engaging, well-paced ride through the worlds of psychology, biology and neuroscience. Claudia Hammond's style balances in-depth analysis with absorbing anecdote (Top Sante Magazine)

It is my hope that science writers take a leaf out of Hammond's book and learn to treat their subjects with the humour, sensitivity and warmth that here emanate from every page. (Dylan Evans Guardian, on Emotional Rollercoaster)

An entertaining, informed guide to the responses that drive and colour our lives (Independent on Emotional Rollercoaster)

Hammond summaries a formidable array of current research, weaving this gently between personal anecdotes, detailed accounts of some of the more lurid and entertaining experiments and nuggets of hard fact. (Sunday Telegraph on Emotional Rollercoaster)

Hammond's style is accessible and anecdotal, and her refusal to romanticise emotions is bracing. (Financial Times on Emotional Rollercoaster)

Recommended . . . Hammond's conversational style is lively and entertaining, and her eagerness to ground theory in real-life examples hooks the reader from the outset . . . An entertaining yet comprehensive overview of emotions research . . . Emotional Rollercoaster is a most enjoyable journey . . . bound to appeal to a wide audience. (The Psychologist on Emotional Rollercoaster)

Book Description

A fascinating and mind-bending journey through the science of time perception

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The day the princess died, and more 7 May 2012
By Sensible Cat VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If there is one impression you'll take away from this book, it may well be the remarkable tenacity of those prepared to carry out scientific research in the field of time perception. You'll read about the young French man who chose to maroon himself in total darkness in an ice cave for two months, of volunteers prepared to step blindfold to the very edge of a deadly drop down a stairwell (to find out if extreme anxiety makes time apparently pass more slowly), and the dedication of Marigold Linton, who made copious notes on her daily life for five years and tested herself every month on how accurately she recalled them (not a trivial as it might sound - by the end of the experiment she was having to choose from over two hundred possible memories, and the process of testing took an entire day).

The way that our brains percieve the passage of time is something we're all familiar with. Who hasn't wondered where the years have gone when children we remember being toddlers turn out to be doing their A levels? Or wondered why time drags in a queue, but races by when we're having fun? Cleverly, Claudia Hammond has chosen a topic thet just about everyone can relate to, but many people take completely for granted until they think about it. Hammond will tell you gripping stories of people who have either chosen, or been forced to, do precisely that. One of the most dramatic ones is that of the BBC correspondent Alan Johnston who was held hostage in Gaza, confined to one room with no idea how long he'd be held in captivity and, quite literally, nothing to do. Accounts like this bring what could have been a dry and academic subject to life.

Hammond is an excellent communicator, as those familiar with her work on BBC Radio 4 will know.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT'S ALL IN THE MIND... 14 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I go with Einstein, who, I'm told, said there's no such thing as time - despite the fact that I appear to be suffering heavily from its ravages... This book, although perhaps not expressly agreeing with AE's view, seems to underline that notion, because a considerable part of it is about how and why the perception of time differs within us and under different circumstances - and how we may control our own perception of it, ie, make it go faster or slower, according to needs. It's thus more about human psychology than about the abstract notion of time as dealt with in popular science fiction. This is hardly surprising, because the author is a well-known, media-prominent psychologist.

To underline its many points, the book contains a host of anecdotes relating to time-linked experiences of many different individuals, from the prominent to the obscure, and a nice sprinkling of pithy quotes - I liked the one from, Kierkegarde, "Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards." The final 50-odd pages deal with how we can change our relationship with time and contains a plethora of advice to that end, based on scientifically-based research, including modern brain scanning techniques; so if you've ever wanted to know how to deal with the boredom of those long, tedious waits in the doctor's or hospital waiting rooms, this is for you. Some of the researched findings may seem like common sense, but it's nice to have them confirmed.

I rate popular science according to how easily it reads, and how well the writer can maintain my interest; this book scores well on both counts, and is unlikely to disappoint anyone - other than, perhaps, a competing psychologist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good idea that somehow got lost 17 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Having just read a fairly learned tome on the subject of cognitive behaviour I started reading this book with the expectation of light relief and the first chapter or two in Claudia Hammond's book presaged an excursion into the nature of time. Unfortunately it gradually transmogrified into something else and concluded with an essay on how I could change my relationship with time.

I gradually gained a sense that a publisher may have approached Claudia because she is a presence on radio and television and suggested 'Go on! Write us a book about something'. Claudia claims that she has 'scoured the literature for what I believe to be the most informative studies on time...and the question now is how to put the knowledge into practice'. Erm, no; I don't want to. I wanted to read a book about the intangible essence of time, not how to consider problems such as failing to plan ahead. If I wanted that I would have bought an organiser.

There are a few interesting excursions in this book but my interest quickly waned and I also wondered if on completing Chapter 5 Claudia had asked the publisher 'is that enough yet?'. Some of the content would have made for an interesting article or two but for me it did not make a book. It felt as if material was stretched out and disparate sections added to make a 'book's worth'.

The pity is that if Claudia had stuck with the theme of the first two chapters and developed this in to a more coherent exploration of the subject, I would have found it a fascinating read. Perhaps next time; she is clearly capable of more than this book delivered for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time... 18 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Claudia Hammond's Time Warped is an interesting and compelling discussion of the concept of time in psychology. Hammond will be known to Radio 4 listeners as the presenter of All in the Mind, and her journalistic skills are evident in the way she keeps the reader hanging on -- quite literally in mid-air at the beginning -- while she digs into the background.

This is an informative and well-judged book. As a psychologist and broadcaster, Hammond is happy to point out where the experiments are inconclusive and where there are still a number of plausible theories, rather than trying to sell us a particular point of view. Equally, she is very happy to give us fascinating nuggets on the way, such as that a 'moment' lasts 2-3 seconds for almost everyone, and that our body clocks operate to a strict 24 hour 31 minute time scale, which is then corrected by daylight -- as good an explanation as any as to why we would always prefer to sleep longer and stay up later.

In the best tradition of psychology related books, there are numerous exercises which you can do yourself which are used to prove the more implausible points, and are fun in themselves.

As well as analysing the theories which are current, the author neatly disposes of things which we all thought we knew. For example, the theory that time seems to speed up as you get older because -- proportionately to the rest of the life they've already experienced -- a year for a sixty year old is 1/10th as long as a year for a six year old turns out not to be true at all.

Wilkie Collins once wrote to Charles Dickens 'Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, but above all, make 'em wait'. Claudia Hammond has taken this to heart more than any author I've ever read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
If your into psychology and how the mind works then this is for you, the added extra of how we view time makes for an intriguing read.
Published 3 months ago by MAF2013
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining reading but confusingly structured
The book is well written. However, the constant forward and backward references to other chapters makes it somewhat difficult to follow which example is supposed to support which... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Frank Vandecruys
4.0 out of 5 stars gives a whole new meaning to time
This book took my preconceived ideas of time, stood them on their head and then made me think long and hard. Read more
Published 11 months ago by J. H. hill
3.0 out of 5 stars Time Warped by Claudia Hammond
I enjoyed learning some interesting things and gaining some valuable insights but I felt it took rather a long time to say it all.
Published 14 months ago by Christine Major
3.0 out of 5 stars Time and all that
This book is a bit like a number of articles strung together in a compendium and some are more successful than others. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Zipster Zeus
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing
How do you imagine the year? the week? What colour is Monday?

An enlightening book - did you know that there are very many different ways that people visualize time and... Read more
Published 14 months ago by artemisrhi
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels long
I was quite taken with this book at the outset as she provides some really good examples and explanations for how time messes with our heads and what kind of extremes people have... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars This will only take a minute
A lively and interesting journey through various areas of interest relating to time and our perception of how quickly it is passing. Read more
Published 15 months ago by C. J. Tyler
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite fascinating but also long winded.
This book covers one of the most fascinating concepts known to man, time. The author takes you on journey through the mind and our perceptions of time. Read more
Published 15 months ago by M. Dasani
3.0 out of 5 stars Time dragged, a bit
I had much more trouble than other reviewers reading this book. I love Claudia Hammond on the radio and read lots of popular science so was anticipating a real treat. Read more
Published 16 months ago by emma who reads a lot
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