The mysteries of time perception solved

Time rules our lives, yet many of us understand very little about it, but help is at hand. BBC broadcaster Claudia Hammond will present her investigations into the mysterious world of time perception this Wednesday (18 April) at the British Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference, held in London.

The public lecture forms part of the BPS's public engagement scheme. In it, Claudia, presenter of BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind, will discuss conundrums such as why lives appear to speed up as we get older, how our minds keep time and why at least a fifth of the population visualise time spread out before them.

Claudia is the winner of the Society's Public Engagement and Media Award 2012.  She will be presented with her award later this week, at the conference.

Author of Time Warped, published on 3 May 2012 by Canongate Books Ltd, Claudia says: "The brain creates its own time, making it remarkably easy to trick the brain’s clock. Mind time is different from clock time. It is the inner time we experience and it can pass fast or slowly depending on whether we are waiting for a train, working hard or free falling from a plane. Our relationship with time is not straightforward."

A new theory called Holiday Paradox will be introduced at the lecture. It explains why holidays appear to go fast at the time, but when you look back you feel like you were away for ages. Claudia says: "We judge time prospectively and retrospectively and these two perspectives on time can explain many of its mysteries."

Mental time travel and its peculiarities will also be revealed. Mind bogglers such as why we remember more events from our late teens and early twenties than from any other time of life, and whether our ability to imagine the future explains the imperfection of our memories.