The Odd Thing That Sets People With Depression Apart

Illustrated by Austin Watts.
Time definitely drags when you're not having fun (ugh, this winter). But, for those with depression, time may feel like it's passing even more slowly, reports Science of Us.

Last month, the Journal of Affective Disorders published a meta-study evaluating previously published work on time perception and depression. This included 16 studies with data from a total of 918 participants (433 of whom were depressed) who performed four different time-keeping tasks, such as having to identify when a certain amount of time had elapsed.

Results showed that, overall, depressed participants reported time passing significantly more slowly than the control participants did. But, interestingly, depression had no effect on participants' abilities to perform in any of the specific time-perception tasks. The authors conclude that this may be because depression causes us to feel the "flow of time" at a reduced speed — without actually influencing our ability to judge specific intervals of time. So, basically, a depressed person still knows how long 10 minutes is, but those 10 minutes just feel way longer for that person than they do for a non-depressed individual.

Clearly, there's a lot left to uncover here. For one thing, the researchers didn't take any medications into account, so antidepressants' effects on neurotransmitters may be going unnoticed here. But, if you're dealing with depression and you feel like the clock hasn't moved in maybe nine thousand years, this suggests you're not alone.

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