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Making your holiday last longer

snorkellingThe human brain can be easily fooled when it comes to how quickly time goes by and now a neuroscientist has suggested new ways that we can all make our holidays seem to last longer.

A growing body of evidence suggests this trick can be pulled off and David Eagleman, a best-selling author as well as the scientist in question, has set out how to do it in his essay 'Brain Time'.

Temporal illusions

“Time perception, just like vision, is a construction of the brain – and shockingly easy to manipulate,” he suggests. “We all know about optical illusions, in which things appear different from how they really are; less well known is the world of temporal illusions.”

A temporal illusion is anything that distorts our perception of time and the good news is they are all around us. “When you begin to look for temporal illusions, they appear everywhere,” Eagleman says.

When experiencing something extraordinary, different and exciting, the perception of time slows down and there is now plenty of research to support this claim. So an active holiday spent bungee jumping, skydiving or snorkelling will seem to last longer than if you simply lounge around the pool.


However, there is still good news for holidaymakers who are looking for something more relaxing to last longer. Dr Steve Taylor, a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, believes there is another way to slow down our perception of time by paying conscious attention to the experiences we are having.

“Time perception is related to information processing so the more information our minds and our senses take in, the slower time seems to go,” Dr Taylor explains.

The unfamiliarity of new experiences slows down our perception so even walking around a new city can work, as long as you make a conscious effort to be aware of your surroundings. This is called mindfulness.

“We only get a certain amount of holiday each year so it’s very important to make them last as long as possible and expand our time perception as much as we can,” adds Dr Taylor.

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Date Created: 17/08/2018

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