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Book Reviews

Time Warped – my review

Let me start by stating that I bought this book by mistake. I thought I was getting a book on the physics of time, of how the perception of time changes with speed for example, and what research is being done in this field.

What I got instead was a book on the biology of time, which, as it turns out, is equally interesting.

“Time Warped” can be roughly divided into two segments. The first, and more interesting, half deals with how our brains process and perceive the passage of time. This is something we take for granted, but when we think about the fact that we are arguably the only specie on the planet to mark the passage of time so methodically, we ought to wonder how our brains manage to do so. Claudia Hammond takes us through a delightful romp through cognition, neuro-chemistry, and neuro-anatomy, as well as the adventures of some intrepid researchers in search of answers to these very questions – how do our brains measure time? Is there a “time centre” somewhere in the cerebral cortex? How do our emotional states affect our perception of time passing?

Equally engrossing are the experiments on how we visualize time, our “mental calendar” as it were. It was surprising to know that even the direction of our script can influence how we see time moving in our mindscape. The answers are still elusive, but the clues are tantalizing!

The second part of the book is more pop-psychology and common sense than anything else. It was a fast read through how events around us and our interaction with them color our perception of how much time has elapsed. The last bits about how we can use this to our advantage are something you could skip with no material loss in knowledge gained. It’s Psych 101 at its most basic.

Taken all-in-all though, I would still recommend this book, both for its engaging and personal style of writing and for the questions it raises about human biology and time. Grab it, no curious mind would be disappointed. 🙂


About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. There were many reasons why I gradually became more regular in posting, but one way or the other, here I am! So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on(and trust me this does become an issue more often than I'd care to admit). I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice.


7 thoughts on “Time Warped – my review

  1. I’ll read it when I have time. Ha ha.150years ago study of psychology began with Psychometrics, which attempted to discover mathematical laws that connect the subjective perception with the objective physical stimuli. It’s more complicated than they thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Bumba | 23/08/2016, 2:34 AM
  2. Interesting book, although I’m happy just contemplating the ideas rather than reading about it- what with not much time an all. Did the book suggest that everyone visualises time? I thought that was a characteristic of synaesthesia (e.g. visualising days of week, months of year etc)- although maybe the prevalence of calendars and diaries make us end up viewing time that way?

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by 10000hoursleft | 20/08/2016, 6:33 PM
    • It is a kind of synesthesia, but the sheer number of different ways that people visualize it is fascinating….:)
      My view has always been a white sheet with each century on one page, the decades neatly arranged, 10 years to a column. The significant events stood out from the relevant years..:)
      There are people who view time as a spiral, as an arc bending crazily…..:D

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by hbhatnagar | 20/08/2016, 7:04 PM
      • i see years in different in a long straight series of rectangles and the further away they are from now, the darker they are shaded. Also experience emotions associated with some of the years as i ‘scan’ the years to place an event or some new info I have learnt into the appropriate year. Months I see with big square blocks and I picture the seasons and a kind of up hill to mid year then down hill. Days of week I see kinda like a hopscotch grid, with sat and sun dipped down a level between fri and mon. haha

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by 10000hoursleft | 21/08/2016, 7:36 AM
      • See? We’re just two people and look how differently we imagine time! Yours is a lovely way to picture it, thanks for sharing, 1! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by hbhatnagar | 21/08/2016, 9:07 AM
      • 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by 10000hoursleft | 21/08/2016, 1:12 PM

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