IdeaFestival 2014 #6: Time Warped, Claudia Hammond

Claudia Hammond

Session: Time Warped
Thursday, October 2, 2014
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
(Kentucky Center)

Few things are more perplexing to us than the concept of time. While we often think of time as being a kind of external objective reality…science and psychology tells us that it is, in fact, a relative and highly subjective experience. BBC reporter and psychologist Claudia Hammond delves into how our mind experiences, perceives and processes time…and is even capable of “time-travel”.

Claudia Hammond
is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and psychology lecturer. She is the presenter of “All in the Mind & Mind Changers” on BBC Radio 4 and Health Check on BBC World Service Radio and BBC World News TV. She is a columnist for and regularly appears on Impact on BBC World News to discuss research in psychology. Hammond is on the part-time faculty at Boston University’s London base where she lectures in health and social psychology.

She is the author of two psychology books – Emotional Rollercoaster: a Journey Through the Science of Feelings and Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.


Key ideas

  • Focus: subjective, relative experience of time vs external, objective reality
  • We actively construct our experience of time
  • oddball effect
  • role of emotion
  • synesthesia
  • ego-moving metaphor
  • telescoping
  • proportionality
  • reminiscence bump between ages 15-25
  • holiday paradox. Prospective / retrospective
  • creation of new memories
  • planning fallacy. Things always take longer – the bigger, the longer. Faulty premises.  We will have more time and be better organized
  • physics: time is an illusion – but our commonsense perception of it doesn’t change because of that. Example: Sunset
  • being taken out of time: absorption in flow
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