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When we’re afraid, our brain attempts to remember as much about the situation as possible so we can avoid things associated with it in the future. Because of this, our perception is distorted and life seems to slow down.
Chess Stetson, Matthew Fiesta, and Eagleman believe that this sensation of time slowing is a by-product of the fact that our brains simply remember more information during traumatic experiences. Just as your computer hard drive occasionally backs up every single piece of data you have, traumatic events kick the brain into a type of hyperdrive where the tiniest details are stored for later use. Thus when you go bungee jumping or skydiving, time runs at the usual pace but it seems slower because your brain is filling in so many details that the experience seems to expand and your later memory of it is also particularly detailed.
Perception of time is quite malleable.
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