The findings suggest that depressed individuals assess the flow of time differently from healthy individuals.Time perception is highly subjective and usually depends on the relevant situation so that, for instance, your sense of how fast or slow time is passing can be influenced by whether you are waiting for something or if a deadline is approaching.

"Psychiatrists and psychologists in hospitals and private practices repeatedly report that depressed patients feel that time only creeps forward slowly or is passing in slow motion," said Daniel Oberfeld-Twistel from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany.

"The results of our analysis confirm that this is indeed the case," Oberfeld-Twistel added.The researchers collated relevant studies on the subject to analyse them in a so-called meta-study.What they found was that, in comparison with healthy individuals, depressed individuals actually do have a subjective feeling that time is passing more slowly.

However, when asked to judge the duration of a specific time interval, such as two seconds or two minutes, their estimates are just as accurate as those of healthy individuals.The researchers looked at the results from 16 individual studies in which 433 depressed subjects and 485 non-depressed control subjects participated."We found strong indicators that in depressed individuals the subjective feeling of the passage of time differs from the ability to assess the actual duration of external events," Oberfeld-Twistel concluded.The findings appeared in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

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