By Michael G. Flaherty

Time, it's been acknowledged, is the enemy. In an period of harried lives, time turns out more and more beneficial as hours and days telescope and our lives frequently appear to be flitting prior. And but, at different occasions, the mins drag on, each one tick of the clock excruciatingly drawn out. What explains this seeming paradox? established upon an entire decade's empirical learn, Michael G. Flaherty's new publication bargains striking insights in this so much common human adventure. Flaherty surveys hundreds of thousands of people of every age in an try and make certain how such phenomena as discomfort, violence, probability, boredom, pleasure, focus, surprise, and novelty impact our conception of time. Their tales make for exciting studying, by means of turns established and unique, mundane and dramatic, bad and humorous. A qualitative and quantitative journey de strength, A Watched Pot offers what may be the 1st absolutely built-in conception of time and may be of curiosity to scientists, humanists, social scientists and the proficient public alike. a decision notable educational ebook.

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Extra info for A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

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Therefore, we can dis­ tinguish three points along the continuum that represents Paradoxical Variation / 34 variation in the perceived passage of time. Each of these points corresponds to one of the three elementary forms, and, for the sake of convenience, I shall refer to these points by name: protracted duration, temporal compression, and synchronicity. The phrase “protracted duration” refers to one’s expe­ rience that time is passing very slowly. This is to say that, in certain situations, it feels as if much more time has elapsed than actually would be measured by a clock or calendar.

From a physical standpoint, we are always here now, but our thoughts and feel­ ings often reflect the events of another, perhaps imaginary place and time. As a result, our attention to details of the situation at hand is typically desultory. However, when situ­ ations explode suddenly into violence and danger, the scope of one’s attention narrows to immediate circumstances, with attendant effects on the perceived passage of time. These effects are consistent regardless of whether the vio­ lence is natural, accidental, intentional, or vicarious.

Extraordinary circumstances make for abnormal tempo­ ral experiences, and the latter bring time to the surface of consciousness. Consequently, the stories people tell about lived duration provide only instances of deviant temporal­ ity. More precisely, they provide almost nothing but stories about unusual situations in which time was perceived to pass slowly. 3 From 1983 to 1994, my assistants and I have collected 705 first-person accounts of situations in which the passage of time was perceived to slow noticeably.

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