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Time in depression and mania: Running fast or running slow? A computer based, controlled study of 93 depressed, manic and control subjects
Objective: Studies on the time sense of depressed patients have revealed inconsistent results. Manic patients have been almost neglected. Method: Patients with a major depressive episode (N=32), or a manic episode (N=30) (both DSM-IV, M.I.N.I.-confirmed), and 31 healthy controls were included. The subjective time experience was assessed by a visual analog scale (VAS), the objectively measurable time judgment abilities by the Chronotest, a computer program developed for this study, consisting of time estimation and time production tasks. Results: Controls reported a balanced, manic patients an enhanced, and depressive patients a slowed experience of time flow in the VAS (p<0.001). In the time judgment tasks, however, both depressed and manic patients showed time over-estimation for the longer time spans (p<0.008). Conclusion: This largest study on time sense in manic patients confirmed results of a divergent alteration of time experience in depressive and in manic patients but revealed an uniform time over-estimation by both patient groups in time judgment tasks.