Technology is making our perception of time flow quicker, according to new study

As children, time seems to tick at a slower rate because we are constantly bombarded with new and impressionable experiences. As adults, time seems to tick by more quickly. We develop a routine, days blur together, time accumulates into chunks, making us wonder where the year has gone. But it’s not just the repetitiveness of everyday life that accelerates time. According to a recent study, technology is causing our perception of time to speed up.

The universe dances to two different beats: a cosmic time and a mental time. The human brain is an information processing system. Not only does our internal picture of the world lapse nano-seconds behind the workings of the actual world; the brain processes information at different levels and speeds. The more information the brain processes, the faster time seems to flow.

The internet, smart phones, television and radio have given us access to a sea of information at our fingertips, which is fooling us into believing time is passing faster than it really is, according to the study.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

“I’ve found some indication that interacting with technology and technocentric societies has increased some type of pacemaker within us,” James Cook University researcher, Dr. Aoife McLoughlin, said in a recent interview. “While it might help us to work faster, it also makes us feel more pressured by time,” he added.[1]

The researchers examined individuals who were constantly wired to technology versus individuals who rarely used it. They than compared how each group perceived the passage of time.

Those who were always attached to technology regularly overestimated the amount of time that had passed in comparison to those who scarcely used technology. In addition, individuals who used technology often were more stressed than those who didn’t use do so, because they felt like time was running out.

Interestingly, participants who read a succinct advertisement perceived time as ticking by more quickly than participants who read a long monologue from a book. “It’s almost as though we’re trying to emulate the technology and be speedier and more efficient,” McLoughlin said.“It seems like there’s something about technology itself that primes us to increase that pacemaker inside of us that measures the passing of time,” he added.[1]

Technology has enabled people to multitask, allowing us to get more done in a shorter amount of time. Paradoxically, the same technology that has given us more time, makes us feel like we have less time.

How to slow time down

So, how can we slow the flow of time down? Based on the study, an easy solution would be to unplug from technology and meditate for 20 minutes a day. Other studies have suggested that listening to music can slow time down as well.

Another way to slow time down is to break out of the ordinary. This doesn’t have to consist of a grand summer vacation. It can involve taking an alternative path to work, making conversation with a stranger or trying a new restaurant.

The moral of the study: unplug from the web and enjoy the present moment.

Sources include:

[1] DailyMail.Co.Uk

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