Press Release Summary: The results of the David Eagleman experiment in duration dilation are invalidated by a new report that found numerous flaws in methodology and the structure of the experiment. It seems that time can appear to slow down during frightening events after all.
R&D engineer, technologist, and conceptual theorist Marshall Barnes has now published a digital article that completely invalidates the celebrated findings of Baylor College professor David M. Eagleman, showing the perception of time slowing down during a crisis event is a function of enhanced memory. First published in December of 2007 in the online journal PlosOne http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0001295 , the peer reviewed Does Time Really Slow Down During A Frightening Event? posited that anecdotal accounts of time slowing down for people during frightening events are simply a function of the brain recording the event in a richer, more detailed process, resulting in memories of things happening slower.
The response to the report across the Internet was mixed, even as media attention of the Eagleman report grew. Many readers stated that their own experiences seemed to suggest that they were able to escape injury because they were able to respond faster due to their perceptions of time slowing down. Others just accepted the report as \"science\" and therefore correct. Central to the Eagleman report was his dramatic experiment where he dropped volunteers some 150 ft into a net using a towering contraption known as a SCAD or Suspended Catch Air Device. During the fall, he had them wear perceptual chronometers - wrist devices that would flash numbers so fast that they couldn\'t be identified under normal circumstances. The theory Eagleman had was that if time slowed down for the volunteers, as they plunged backward into the net, then they would be able to read the numbers on their way down.
In addition, Eagleman had each volunteer watch others fall and then estimate how long that fall lasted. After each one had taken the plunge themselves, they were asked to imagine how long it it lasted. The results of these activities, as reported by Eagleman, were that the volunteers couldn\'t read the numbers during the fall and their estimated times for their own falls were an average of 36% longer than the actual time. Eagleman\'s conclusion - time does not slow down during a frightening event, but memory makes it appear that it had.
Duration Dilation and the Flawed Frightening Experiment is a lengthy and authoritative rebuttal of the entire Eagleman project - the way anecdotal accounts are referenced, the methodology used to design the experiment, the use of the SCAD, the interpretation of the data, and more, are all covered and criticized, at times using links to video evidence. Among the most persuasive are video clips of the experiment itself, from sources such as the Discovery Channel and the BBC, that reveal devastating flaws that invalidate Eagleman\'s findings. The most dramatic of these are the clips that show Eagleman and his assistant saying that volunteers are to estimate when their SCAD fall has ended by their hitting the net. Marshall, using a new scientific approach he developed called technocogninetics, researched this and revealed that the SCAD is designed so that a person can\'t tell when they\'ve hit the net. This startling revelation, straight from the web site of the facility that Eagleman used for his tests, as well as another, shatters the evidence that Eagleman cites as proof of elongated memory. The technocogninetic effect of the SCAD is that the volunteers would not be able to tell when their fall had exactly ended because the SCAD itself makes that impossible.
Perhaps the deathblow to the entire affair is that Marshall found that the BBC reported online that during a visit with Eagleman and the SCAD at the Zero Gravity Amusement Park, a volunteer was able to repeatedly read the first number accurately and get the second number close to the actual number, which looked similar. Marshall included a video of this event in his online paper which shows Eagleman begrudgingly admitting on camera that time had seemed to slow down for this volunteer. This too fits within the realm of Marshall\'s technocogninetic science which addresses the effect of devices on human consciousness. Marshall\'s contentions included that the time that the fall lasts, the types of numbers displayed, as well as whether or not an individual may be prone to be able to rapidly acquire targets under duress, all are critical factors that bear influence on the question of mental perceptions of time during high stress events, but these critical aspects were ignored by Eagleman and his team when designing the experiment. That volunteer for the BBC session proves that Marshall\'s contention over these perceived experiment design flaws are more than valid and in fact raise questions that are left unanswered. This renders the Eagleman report conclusions totally inconsequential.
Duration Dilation and the Flawed Frightening Experiment provides a panoramic view of the truth behind duration dilation, using anecdotal accounts, video demonstrations and references to Marshall\'s his own research, and that of others. The conclusions are that, in the wake of the Eagleman experiment being inconsequential, there is no evidence that perceptions of time slowing down are solely a function of richly encoded memory. Instead, such perceptions are real and could even be explored for military applications. The paper can be viewed by going to the AET RaDAL Scientific American blog portal http://science-community.sciam.com/blog/Aet-Radals-Blog/300008993
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