Time Feels Slower When You’re Depressed

Remember the attack on Tony Soprano outside the newsstand? Turns out that bullet time may not just be a stylistic choice by auteur David Chase—depressed people really do feel time moving more slowly. Okay, maybe not as slow as bullet time, but still.

A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders has found that depression can slow the perception of time—although not necessarily how accurately depressed people judge time. Researchers did a meta-study of sixteen different studies, involving 433 non-depressed and 485 depressed people. Lots of studies involved accurately gauging time’s passing, for example, asking people to hold a button for five seconds, or asking the length of a short film. Most of these studies found that depressed people are just as good as non-depressed people at accurately judging the passage of time.

However, depressed people are far more likely to describe time as moving slowly or dragging. Asked to wait for five minutes, a depressed person will be just as accurate as a non-depressed person at gauging when that five minutes is up. However, they will still feel like thinks are moving more slowly.


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