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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil. Did you have a good weekend, Alice?

  • Yes, but it flew bywhich means it went quicklyand here we are again,

  • back at work!

  • Neil: Hm. I know what you mean.

  • Though I must say, time really dragged for meand that means it went slowly.

  • I was on a train, which broke down.

  • Alice: Oh dear!

  • And it felt like it took forever to arrivethough actually it was only delayed

  • only by one hour.

  • Alice: Well, today we're talking about our perception ofor the way we see

  • time.

  • It's true that when we're busy doing lots of things, time flies by.

  • Neil: And when we're bored or have nothing to do, it drags.

  • And I didn't have anything to do on the train.

  • Do you think time flows at the same rate for everyone, even animals?

  • My cat doesn't get bored doing nothing all day.

  • I wonder if time drags for her sometimes?

  • Alice: Good question!

  • Did you know, Neil, that, according to a new study, smaller animals perceive time as if

  • it is passing in slow motion?

  • Neil: That sounds weird.

  • Do you think they hear us like this: t…a…l…k…i…n…g s…l…o…w…l…y…?

  • Alice: Don't be silly, Neil!

  • What I meant was that small animals such as insects and small birds can observe more detail

  • in a certain period of time. for example, a second than larger animals.

  • Neil: And how does this help them, exactly?

  • It sounds like the day would really drag if every second got stretched out like that!

  • Alice: It helps them by giving them time to escape larger predators.

  • Now, I have a question for you, Neil.

  • Can you tell me roughly how much more quickly a fly's eye can react than a human eye? Is

  • it ... a) twice as quickly?

  • b) four times as quickly? Or c) ten times as quickly?

  • Neil: Well, I'll go for c) ten times.

  • Flies are pretty nippy and that's another word for quick.

  • Alice: Yes. Well, we'll find out later on if you got the answer right or not.

  • Now, small animals can typically process more visual information than we can.

  • But in a dangerous situation our brains can work in overdrive to process information more

  • quickly.

  • And overdrive means a state of extreme activity.

  • Let's listen to Raza Rumi, a writer and broadcaster in Pakistan, talking about the unusual way

  • his brain worked when gunmen opened fire on him in his car.

  • Raza Rumi: It lasted for a few minutes but to me that particular incident seems like it was for hours.

  • it was for hours.

  • I think my brain was working in a very strange way.

  • Parallel and multiple thoughts and streams of consciousness were sort of running along:

  • 'I have to save my head because if I get a bullet in my brain I'm dead.'

  • And at the same time, 'Was it all worth it?'

  • And, 'Alas, what a short life it was, it was lovely.'

  • I was petrified that I was going to die.

  • Neil: Raza Rumi there.

  • So, he was petrified by the attack �V which means extremely frightened.

  • As a result, his brain started working in a strange way. He was thinking and feeling

  • lots of different things at the same time.

  • Alice: That's right �V he remembers thinking practical thoughts like,

  • 'I have to save my head'.

  • Neil: But in parallel �V or at the same time �V he also remembers having philosophical

  • thoughts, such as:

  • What a short life it was, it was lovely.

  • Alice: Have you ever been in a dangerous situation where your brain went into overdrive, Neil?

  • Neil: Yes, I was ten years old and I fell backwards out of a big tree in our garden.

  • Alice: Oh no!

  • Neil: Yeah. I have a vivid memory of the sun flashing above me,

  • and the clouds moving across the sky,

  • and the leaves rustling in the tree above me �V my mum was screaming through the kitchen

  • window as she saw me fall.

  • I experienced so much in the space of just a few seconds, just like Raza Rumi describes.

  • Alice: Yes. A vivid memory, by the way, is clear and detailed.

  • Oh, poor Neil! Did you hurt yourself?

  • Neil: Some big bruises �V but no broken bones.

  • Alice: Glad to hear it.

  • Now, it's a strange trick of memory that in a scary situation your brain starts to record

  • everything in great detail.

  • And the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took.

  • This idea explains why children often feel that time is passing slowly

  • because their experiences are new, and they are creating lots of new memories.

  • Neil: Whereas boring grown-ups like us are following routines that don't require new

  • memories because they're so familiar.

  • But let's listen to Claudia Hammond, author of Time Warped, talking about how we can stretch

  • time and make our days feel longer �V in a good way!

  • Claudia Hammond: If you can spend your weekend filling it with loads of new different activities,

  • it'll go fast, at the time, because you're having fun.

  • But when you look back, say, on Sunday night, and you've got to go to work next day, it

  • will feel as if your weekend was long, because you filled it with new memories.

  • Alice: We should do that, this weekend, Neil.

  • What do you think?

  • Neil: Definitely. I'm going to buzz around like a fly, creating loads of new memories.

  • Alice: Now, are you ready for the answer to today's quiz question?

  • I asked: Roughly how much more quickly a fly's eye can react than a human eye?

  • Is it �K a) twice as quickly, b) four times as quickly or c) ten times as quickly?

  • Neil: And I said c) ten times as quickly.

  • Alice: The correct answer is b) four times as quickly.

  • Flies have eyes that send updates to the brain at much higher frequencies than our eyes because

  • they can process the information more quickly.

  • This speed illustrates the impressive capabilities of even the smallest animal brains.

  • Neil: Well, before we buzz off, perhaps we should hear the words we learned today.

  • They are:

  • flew by

  • dragged

  • perception

  • nippy

  • overdrive

  • petrified

  • in parallel

  • Alice: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • Remember to join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye!

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

Subtitles and keywords

A2 BEG UK neil alice quickly overdrive brain time

BBC 6 Minute English July 21, 2016 - Are we there yet? (Subtitle not corrected yet)

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    林發發   posted on 2016/07/30
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