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Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2017 Jul 1;88(7):677-681. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.4858.2017.

Distortion of Prospective Time Production Underwater.



The few prior studies of time perception underwater have reached contradictory conclusions as to how, and if, time perception becomes distorted when submerged. The current paper expands upon this limited data by describing two studies of prospective time production in scuba divers.


Study 1 (N = 32) compared performance on a 30-s interval time production task in deep water (35 m-42 m/∼115-138 ft) with a shallow water control (3-12 m/∼10-39 ft). Using the same task, study 2 (N = 31) tested performance at the surface and at a range of depths underwater (1 m/3 ft; 11 m/36 ft; 20 m/66 ft; 30 m/98 ft; 40 m/131 ft).


Study 1 revealed time production to be significantly longer in deep water compared to shallow water. In study 2 time production at the surface was not significantly different from that at 1 m, but productions at 11-40 m were significantly longer than at both 1 m and on the surface. Time productions between 11-40 m did not differ significantly.


It was concluded that divers judge less time to have passed underwater than is objectively the case from a depth of 11 m, but that this effect does not deteriorate significantly once past 11 m. The cause of this distortion of time perception underwater was suggested to be the action of gas narcosis.Hobbs MB, Kneller W. Distortion of prospective time production underwater. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2017; 88(7):677-681.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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