Lab Report - Time Perception in an Altered State of Consciousness

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Abstract

This study explored the question of whether people who say they are skilled at relaxation report a deeper level of relaxation than people who say they are not so skilled. Undergraduate psychology students (37 males and 127 females, mean age 20 years) followed one of three different sets of instructions that detailed how they were to relax, and after doing so for a period of time, completed a survey where they rated on a ten point scale how relaxed they felt and where they stated whether or not they were skilled at relaxation. The hypothesis that were was no difference in the mean estimate of relaxation reported by those who are skilled at relaxation and those who are not was unsupported, as a significant difference was found. It was concluded that those who are skilled at relaxation would report a higher level of relaxation and those who were not skilled at relaxation would report a lower level of relaxation.

The perception of time during an altered state of consciousness

This study explored how time was perceived during a relaxed state; more specifically, it investigated whether people who said they were skilled at relaxation reported a deeper level of relaxation than people who said they were not so skilled. Relaxation can be viewed as an altered state of consciousness as it is a state that is dramatically different from ordinary responsiveness and awareness. The standard state of consciousness is defined as being alert, awake and responsive to the environment and ones own mental activities (Lefton and Brannon, 2006).

This study has been adapted from Grivas & Lawrie (1991), who in turn adapted it from Volckmann.& Volckmann (1938). They too looked at the effect that an altered state of consciousness had on time perception, but did not delve into the question of whether those who were skilled at relaxation were more adept at achieving it. Buetown (2004) also investigated time perception and found that time seemed to pass slowly when an...
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