Time perception


How do we perceive time? Why does it sometimes wear on? Or why does it just fly by? Starting from ancient philosophies there have been attempts to explain the notion of time.

As we age we feel as though time speeds up. As Neuroscientist David Eagleman said “…childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing.” According to him it is explained through the idea that “the more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass”. Does it imply that we can make time slow down by stuffing it with new activities, events, information, details…. ? In this case then how can we explain why time passes slowly when we’re doing something boring regardless of how familiar it is and why it flies by fast when we’re, say, having fun with our friends and trying some new things?

Apparently, the difference lies in “immediate perception of time” and “recalled perception of time”. For example, when a week is over and we’ve done lots of new things, we look back on it and might feel like it stretched. Whereas at the present moment we might feel bored and perceive time passing by slowly.

Thus, time is a matter of perception. We can learn to focus and perceive time slower, which is just on par with an art like meditation, the art of perceiving the here and now.