The short days and long nights are approaching, and as the clocks go back, we are left wondering “where did the time go…?”

As the winter comes closer and the days become darker, time becomes more important and we do our best to make the most of the light we have. However, we may be losing up to 40 minutes a day due to a type of temporal illusion.

The Stopped Clock Illusion, scientifically known as Saccadic Masking, occurs following a rapid eye-movement (R.E.M.) where the brain produces a still image rather than a blurred one.

If you have ever looked at a working clock and been tricked into thinking that time is standing still, you may have experienced Saccadic Masking.

It might only seem like a second before the hand starts ticking again, however these seconds lost can add up to a whopping 40 minutes a day. Whilst this illusion does technically happen every time that we move our eyes rapidly, a lot of the time it is undetectable.

We are aware of this illusion more when we are looking at a clock as we expect the tick-tock motion that accompanies it, however the illusion can be found elsewhere.

Fun fact about R.E.M: The American rock band got their name, when lead singer, Michael Stipe looked through a dictionary and read that when R.E.M occurs you are at your deepest sleep, so most likely for vivid dreams to occur.


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