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The Stopped Clock Illusion

Quartz Wall Clock 1I’m drifiting slightly off the path of mechanical clock talk, but not entirely…

The Stopped Clock Illusion is interesting and thought-provoking to know.

You can use it to impress your friends, family – and customers – by showing that your super-clock-know-how is further propped up by your keen understanding of the “horo” of horology (latin word for time), and the science behind temporal impressions (an optical illusion of sorts).

What is the Stopped Clock Illusion?

Have you ever noticed that every time you first glance at a clock, that the second hand seems frozen in time, if just for an extended instant? It’s as if you catch time off guard for a moment, fixed in some sort of surreal hiccup…the experience is so common that scientists have a name for it: the Stopped Clock Illusion. Though you may be dismayed to discover that the experience is just an illusion (you don’t have magical powers of time control), the mystery of why clocks seem to pause when we first glance at them is nevertheless a fascinating study into how our perception of time works.
Mystery solved: Why clocks seem to stop ticking the second you look at them, 21 January 2014, by Bryan Nelson, Mother Nature Network
Vsauce produced a short, but superb, Youtube video that will help you get your arms around this optical illusion.
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Happy clock-venture!
G. Palos
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