Over the past few years when I randomly choose to look at a clock I typically see particular patterns of times. The main pattern is repeating digits (e.g., 04:04; 11:11; 16:16). This occurs on multiple clock-based devices.

What can explain the tendency to frequently see particular patterns of time when checking the time?

  • $\begingroup$ Okay. I've given this a big edit into hopefully a question that is on topic for the site. Of course, if others think it is still off topic. Please indicate so. $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Mar 1 '15 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ @JeromyAnglim - I think it is pretty much self-help. I like your answer though +1 :) I voted to close the question before edits though, and still support that decision after edits (though it did improve the post a lot). I can't seem to vote again. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 1 '15 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Chris. Yes. It's a bit annoying that when a moderator re-opens after making edits, then the vote to close button seems to disappear. As such, it then becomes difficult to have the usual threshold of votes for re-closing. Perhaps as a workaround, if others think it should be re-closed after the changes, they could upvote your comment, and if it gets a few upvotes, we should close it? $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Mar 1 '15 at 23:41

In general humans are excellent at seeing patterns in randomness. It seems like you have attached special meaning to certain patterns. It seems similar to the way people form superstitions.

Checking the time may also be something that we do so regularly and automatically that we do not know how often we do it. And it may be that the pattern confirming cases rise up and appear to be of significance, whereas the many other non-conforming patterns go unnoticed.

We also have a fairly reasonable internal clock. And people also form habits. So it may also be that you have habituated to checking the time more frequently around these times.

  • $\begingroup$ so why is happening only to me ? i dont know any one around me with this problem . actually i dont know even if this is a problem , but it makes me nuts ! $\endgroup$ – M.R.Safari Mar 1 '15 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Dr.Bronx It is not only happening to you, ... but you might be the only one who is concerned about it though. As an exercise however, it might be interesting to calculate the percentage of 'special times' you recognize, out of all possible combinations. Is '13:00' special? Is '13:05'? $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Mar 2 '15 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ (by the way its 04:40 now) its really not a special time , but order of 00 is more often . for example i get 07:00 & 23:00 more than 23:23 or 07:07 $\endgroup$ – M.R.Safari Mar 2 '15 at 13:10

Often I listen that this phenomenon has to do with the reticular activating system of the brain. For more details: http://www.innovateus.net/health/what-function-reticular-activating-system

Also these type of event are labeled as synchronicity, a concept tagged by Carl Jung (psychic phenomenon). For more details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX_nMwYa-nw

Depends on the observer how to interpret this signs.

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    $\begingroup$ It's not clear how this answers the question--what does the reticular activating system have to do with the rate of seeing repeating digits or 0's on a clock? $\endgroup$ – Krysta Mar 2 '15 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ According from what I can understand this system provides the nervous pathways in the brain that allow it to change the states of consciousness of the brain (controls what you notice) and is the first mechanism of attention arousal (according to csun.edu/~vcpsy00h/students/arousal.htm). Usually the brain is blind to certain patterns. After recognizing a new pattern this system "probably" creates nervous pathways to recognize this new pattern. "Probably" by repetition if you give importance to that pattern you start strengthening those pathways. $\endgroup$ – Jack Mar 2 '15 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Link-only answers are not encouraged, as links may rot and PO still has to sift his way through the web pages. -1 $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 19 '15 at 13:42

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