Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

by Zoe Pollock

The folks at Radio Lab investigated whether time really does slow down during a near death experience. The results, via Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine:

"Turns out, when you're falling you don't actually see in slow motion. It's not equivalent to the way a slow-motion camera would work," David says. "It's something more interesting than that."

According to David, it's all about memory, not turbo perception. "Normally, our memories are like sieves," he says. "We're not writing down most of what's passing through our system." Think about walking down a crowded street: You see a lot of faces, street signs, all kinds of stimuli. Most of this, though, never becomes a part of your memory. But if a car suddenly swerves and heads straight for you, your memory shifts gears. Now it's writing down everything every cloud, every piece of dirt, every little fleeting thought, anything that might be useful.