What happens when you withdraw into a dark cave for a month? How does the sense of time change? What are the effects of that on our bodies?
15 adventurers have reached the core of these questions in a unique experience: Men and women spend 40 days in a cave in the French Pyrenees – without sunlight, hours, and a temperature of no more than 10 degrees.
“Losing a sense of time is one of the greatest confusion around. With this project we want to understand it better,” as stated on the “Deep Time” website.
The mission is led by scientists from the Institute for Human Adaptation. In addition to the researchers, teachers, jewelers and idlers were part of the group at the cave. Instead of counting hours, participants measured time based on their sleep cycles. Everyone was surprised by the end of the experiment.
Christian Clot: “It was a surprise to us when we heard that we had 40 days behind us. We ourselves assumed that … Emily, how long did you think you were on the inside?”
“Emily thought it was 23 days. The majority of the group was around 30 or 31 days. So in our imagination we just went to the cave 30 days ago.”
All participants were monitored with different devices during that time. The researchers recorded interactions, sleep times, and body reactions. Together with the Swiss lab, these data are now being further evaluated in order to understand more about the perception of time and its effect on us humans.
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