- Near-death experiences can make time appear in slow motion
- This is because our brain collects more information to help us respond
- READ MORE: Scientists reveal why time seems to speed up as we age
Anyone who’s been in a car accident will attest to it – time seems to slow down when people are faced with a near-fatal experience.
Now, scientists suggest that it could be a survival tactic deployed by the brain to increase our chance of survival.
The perceived slowing of time may be the brain going into hyper-focus, giving people a better chance to react to the situation.
Scientists have suggested that the dragging of time could be a survival tactic. Our brains kick into gear, processing more sensory information during a traumatic event than collected on an average day
Professor Ruth Ogden, a psychologist at Liverpool John Moores University in England, recently penned a report for The Conversation, where she has uncovered why time may slow down during a car crash, heart attack or other events that put us inches away from death.
Ogden explained that ‘our brain processes time is closely related to the way in which it processes emotion.’
This is because brain regions that regulate emotion are also linked to time processing.
‘During heightened emotion, the activation caused by the brain attempts to maintain stability, which alters its ability to process time,’ Ogden shared.
A 2012 study conducted by scientists at the University of Turku, Finland also found that time slowing down can be understood using our internal clock. The idea is that when the speed of this clock is increased, more ticks occur during the measured interval
The slowing of time could be part of a fight or flight response, which kicks in when you feel threatened, preparing you to either react or retreat from the situation.
When in a dangerous situation, off-the-cuff reactions could make the case worse, but by your brain slowing down time, you have a chance to catch your breath and formulate a strategy.
A 2012 study conducted by scientists at the University of Turku, Finland also found that time slowing down can be understood using our internal clock.
The idea is that when the speed of this clock is increased, more ticks occur during the measured interval.
As more ticks mean longer duration, subjects overestimate the duration in question.
And this does not just happen when someone is faced with danger.
Michael Flaherty, professor of Sociology at Eckerd College, found in 2017 that time can slow down when someone embarks on a new journey.
‘The perceived passage of time can slow down when we’re doing something new, such as learning a challenging skill or going on vacation to an exotic locale,’ Flaherty wrote for The Conversation.
‘Paradoxically, time is perceived to pass slowly in situations where there is almost nothing happening, or a great deal is happening.
‘In other words, the complexity of the situation is either much higher or much lower than normal.’