Sunday, September 14, 2014

Music Warps Our Perception of Time

  Listening to music makes us believe less time has passed...think elevators, being on hold, waiting in a doctor's waiting room. The way it works is due to the limited capacity of sensory input. So when your brain is steadily distracted you're less likely to note the details of that which surrounds you...including passage of time.
  But an opposite effect may occur. When listening to music while performing a task that requires concentration will typically cause us to overestimate the amount of time that has passed. The theory is that the mind switches back and forth between listening to music and performing a challenging task...the brain forms distinct memories as separate events...inducing a sense of longer time to complete the task.
  Other experiments indicate that listening to music we dislike induces time expansion...our mind recognizes the opening notes and fast forwards the playback in our mind inducing an agonizing lag as we impatiently wait for the miserable tome to terminate.
  So doctors, elevator muzac makers take note...

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