Depression Alters How Time Feels

Depression alters people's perceptions of how things feel. But time, which may seem like such a static thing, feels different to people with depression — it feels slower.

Time seems to drag for people who suffer from depression, according to researchers. Melissa Dahl from NYMag writes about how depression makes people feel different about certain things in life — the joy of hanging out with friends or engaging in once fulfilling activities, may hold little value to someone living with the illness. It leaves people with little to occupy themselves with.

No wonder researchers reported in the Journal of Affective Disorders that depressed people felt that time passed more slowly. The researchers conducting the study had 433 depressive patients and 485 healthy control subjects participating in a series of time-related exercises. They assessed how accurately both groups could judge how much time had passed in several experiments testing “verbal time estimation, time production, time reproduction, and duration discrimination.” For instance, in one experiment, the participants had to assess how long a short film lasted, and in another, they had to press a button after they thought five seconds had passed.

Their results indicated that there were no significant differences between how depressed and non-depressed folks measured time. However, when researchers asked both groups to rate the “subjective flow of time,” the results were quite different. The depressed group felt that time moved more slowly than those without depression.

It's quite interesting that someone who is depressed can accurately measure time the same way as someone without depression, but that those five or 10 minutes can feel completely different.

Read more at NYMag.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Related Articles

Why the world needs death to prosper

Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.

Surprising Science
  • Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
  • After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
  • Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
Keep reading Show less

Why birds fly south for the winter—and more about bird migration

What do we see from watching birds move across the country?

E. Fleischer
Surprising Science
  • A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
  • The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
  • Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Keep reading Show less

How does alcohol affect your brain?

Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

(Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
  • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
Keep reading Show less