Time May Slow Down for Elite Athletes

New study suggests

Ryan O'Hanlon

Does time actually slow down for high-level athletes? Based on the results of a recent study, scientists speculate that it just might. Researchers at the University College of London have discovered that an individual’s perception of time does appear to slow down as they prepare to complete a physical action. Participants in the study were asked to react to blinking lights on a screen. Some were told to tap the screen, while others just watched the lights. Those who were asked to tap the screen reported feeling as if they had more time to complete the action, compared to those who were asked to do nothing. The team speculates that this phenomenon might be amplified in elite athletes. “John McEnroe has reported that he feels time slows down as he is about to hit the ball,” said Dr. Nobuhiro Hagura of UCL, “Our guess is that during the motor preparation, visual information processing in the brain is enhanced. So, maybe, the amount of information coming in is increased. That makes time be perceived longer and slower.” The team plans to examine brain activity in high-performing athletes to discover what biological function causes this perception.