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Why Time Flies By As You Get Older

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the like-a-banana dept.

Science 252

Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

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Or its all in our head (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31004826)

And we just think it does.

Re:Or its all in our head (5, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004986)

I dunno, I think I'm getting older because I swear that audio sounded more like 6 minutes...

Re:Or its all in our head (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005210)

I think I'm getting older because I've already posted all the nigger jokes I know of on Slashdot, one at a time. And I know a lot of nigger jokes.

Re:Or its all in our head (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005356)

It's okay, because nigger jokes never get old.

Re:Or its all in our head (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005764)

excuse me?

Re:Or its all in our head (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006080)

excuse yo-self, nigger

Re:Or its all in our head (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005948)

I dunno, I think I'm getting older because I swear that audio sounded more like 6 minutes...

It was 6 fucking minutes. Kids these days can't tell time for shit.

Re:Or its all in our head (3, Interesting)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005246)

I always thought of it as filtering. As we grow older, our brains develop in the way they filter incoming stimuli.The fewer things that actually need our brain's attention, the faster time seems to go. One finds though that in a new and stimulating environment,say, in a new country, time feels slower, but in a boring or familiar environment, time often seems to rush by - especially if our minds are focused on one thing to the exclusion of other stimuli.

Re:Or its all in our head (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005430)

And yet, when you're bored, time seems to crawl, but when you're in a stimulating environment, time seems to fly! It's a total paradox!

(I'm not being sarcastic, I think you're right..)

Re:Or its all in our head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005620)

And yet, when you're bored, time seems to crawl, but when you're in a stimulating environment, time seems to fly! It's a total paradox!

(I'm not being sarcastic, I think you're right..)

And sometimes time goes away. I tend to notice this most when I become absorbed in a good novel.

Re:Or its all in our head (1)

_4rp4n3t (1617415) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005720)

And sometimes time goes away. I tend to notice this most when I become absorbed in a good novel.

Or drink a little too much...

Re:Or its all in our head (1)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006144)

Its simply because the older we get the more we are able to focus. Kids are inherently more distracted. The more we get absorbed in a task, the faster time seems to pass. As we get older, we involve ourselves in a lot of stuff.

Re:Or its all in our head (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005444)

...which is exactly what the article said.

Re:Or its all in our head (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005520)

dont worry, the douchebags who somehow get mod points will mod him up anyway. of course they'll also mod me down for pointing this out. they're bass ackwards.

Re:Or its all in our head (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006210)

We also think about the past, how quickly it...passed, much more often when we are older. If we can't help being fixated on the idea then of course that's just what we're convincing ourselves in.

There might be even more direct mechanism in this; supposedly we perceive passage of time that's happening right now as faster with much of activity, slower without it. But when it comes to memories, it's reversed - when there was hardly anything going on, that period seems like a blink of an eye; almost nonexistant.

So...young, lots of things to do, time quickly passes by; but when you stop for a minute and look back it seems like so much (even though it's only, say, a decade of truly concious experience). But look back when much older and later decades aren't nearly so packed, with less of memorable events, hence seem "faster"?

Michio Kaku (4, Interesting)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004852)

Michio Kaku did a great show about time for the BBC and at the end of one episode he asked young/old people to count 60 seconds. The older people consistently counted for much longer than the actual minute while younger people consistently counted much faster.

Re:Michio Kaku (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005010)

I just tried the experiment myself (without any cheating by looking at the clock).

My results: trial 1: 53 seconds. Trial 2: 52 seconds. I'll be 56 in a month.

I can tell you that my time perception *is* radically different now from 30 years ago, both on short and long term scales. I notice that I tend to want to play slower paced games these days - fast paced shooters just stress me out :). And the years to begin to fly by.

Re:Michio Kaku (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005174)

Trial 1: 67 seconds
Trial 2: 64 seconds
Trial 3: 59 seconds
Age: 23... frak..

Re:Michio Kaku (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005784)

Trial 1: 3.5 seconds
Trial 2: 2.7 seconds
Trial 3: 1.8 seconds

Frak, I need to switch to decaf!

Re:Michio Kaku (2, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006086)

57 seconds. And I would have been within a couple of seconds a decade ago, too. Most musicians tend to have a fairly good concept of tempo. There was a stretch in the 30s and 40s where I felt like I was rushing, and apparently I was. Didn't quite compensate enough in the 50s.

I figure the younger people were just grumbling and thinking, "I gotta get this over with so I can do something more interesting." By contrast, the older folks were probably bored, and got distracted. I wonder how many of the older people counted for longer because they counted a decade twice.

Or, to be a smart aleck, for some of the oldest folks, "Uh... what was after 14? Oh, yeah. 14. Uh.. what was after 14?" :-D

I keed! I keed!

Re:Michio Kaku (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005140)

They did the same in this story

Re:Michio Kaku (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005164)

I've noted that the clock on the wall is ticking faster than it did when I was 10. It's deeply ingrained in my mind - oh how I hated that endless ticking.

I've thought for close to a decade now that our perception of time slows down as we age. It brings up some interesting ideas for Sci-Fi - an AI could easily have a perception of time hundreds to thousands of times faster than our own. Oh how the days would go on. Plenty of time to dream up things!

Re:Michio Kaku (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005480)

It brings up some interesting ideas for Sci-Fi - an AI could easily have a perception of time hundreds to thousands of times faster than our own. Oh how the days would go on. Plenty of time to dream up things!

Data: She brought me closer to humanity than I ever thought possible, and for a time...I was tempted by her offer.
Jean-Luc Picard: How long a time?
Data: Zero point six eight seconds, sir. For an android, that is nearly an eternity.

Re:Michio Kaku (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005484)

at the end of one episode he asked young/old people to count 60 seconds. The older people consistently counted for much longer than the actual minute while younger people consistently counted much faster.

Where they permitted to use any heuristics?
I just tried it with the old "One one-thousand, Two one-thousand, Three one-thousand, etc" method with my eyes closed and got it right on the dot.

Re:Michio Kaku (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005540)

Yes, several people did the "one-mississippi" thing - Here's a clip [bbc.co.uk] from the episode.

Re:Michio Kaku (4, Funny)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005694)

I just tried it and fell asleep. Is that a sign I'm getting old?

Re:Michio Kaku (1)

_4rp4n3t (1617415) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005752)

I'm not sure. Did you wet your pants whilst alseep?

Kind of logarithmic scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31004862)

If you think about it, when one were 5, the 5 years has gone forever in the eyes of that person. When one becomes 10, he sees it as time has gone twice as fast. Something like that.

I didn't H(ear)TFA, but it's in MP3 and I'm deaf you insensitive clod! :)

Re:Kind of logarithmic scale (4, Interesting)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005048)

The immortal Bill Watterson described [gocomics.com] that effect best.

Re:Kind of logarithmic scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005544)

Next time could you pick a site with a few more flashing and moving icons and popup windows? I want to feel like I'm all the way back in the 1990's and just 2002.

Re:Kind of logarithmic scale (0, Offtopic)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005996)

Um, I don't see anything like that at all, and the only ad-blocking I have is Privoxy. Maybe you should switch to better software.

Precise Calculations (4, Funny)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004868)

I calculated it out, and If you factor in how slow time moves after you die this is pretty obvious.

Ugh... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004870)

I want to be older, I'm tired of this long school day bullshit.

Anyone want to trade bodies?

Re:Ugh... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31004948)

Anyone want to trade bodies?

I'm not falling for that one again.

Re:Ugh... (2, Interesting)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004960)

Are you sure you'd want to? The typical work-day is longer than the typical adolescent school day... On the other hand, school doesn't bring a paycheck... Let me ponder this a bit longer before we make a deal.

Re:Ugh... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005038)

On the other hand, school doesn't bring a paycheck...

Bingo!

Paycheck...and instead of listening to eight asshole teachers, only one asshole boss ;)

Re:Ugh... (1)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005204)

Only one? Someone hasn't watched 'Office Space,' said movie should be viewed as a documentary of what's to come!

When I was your age (Holy crap, I can legitimately use that phrase in a sentence!) a neighbor well into his mid to late 70s made every attempt to assure me that the best years of life are when you're in school. For what it's worth, I still disagree with the guy but there's got to be some advantage to your youth, if nothing else, think of all the abysmal 1980s technology you skipped right over!

Better leave it at that before I start to feel as archaic as my Slashdot UID makes me appear when matched up against yours.

Re:Ugh... (5, Funny)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005952)

For what it's worth, I still disagree with the guy but there's got to be some advantage to your youth, if nothing else, think of all the abysmal 1980s technology you skipped right over!

Bugger that! Think of all the abysmal 1980s music you skipped over. A Flock of seagulls, Wham, Adam and The Ants, Human League, Culture Club etc. I don't know how we did it, but we finally realized that just because a synthesizer could make nearly every possible sound, they didn't all have to be in the same song! And the fashion! Dear God, what horrors! - shoulder pads, big hair, jackets with sleeves rolled up, zip-up shoes (remember Ciaks?), scraps of brightly fabric tied everywhere, puffy shirts, skinny leather neckties, faux military uniforms, solitary white gloves. Oh, the humanity!

Re:Ugh... (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004972)

I'm only 10 years older than you and I already feel wore out enough to take you up on that.

Re:Ugh... (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005082)

definately would. you don't understand it yet, but you will never be healthier and more free then you are right now. i'm turning 30 this year and already i can see why they say youth is wasted on the young.

Re:Ugh... (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005638)

i'm turning 30 this year and already i can see why they say youth is wasted on the young.

If you're 30, then you are young. You should have another 10 years or so before the effects of entropy really start making themselves noticed. Mind you, although my knees and ankles creak and my eyes don't work that well, I really wouldn't want the chore of having to live the last 5 decades all over again....

Re:Ugh... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005262)

The good news is that it is almost inevitable, and in the case that you don't get older, you won't notice.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005270)

I do. I'm tired of not finding a job and letting my brain atrophy in front of resume-writing sessions.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005308)

I want to be older, I'm tired of this long school day bullshit.

Anyone want to trade bodies?

I'll trade. I can even list the perks. In two years you'll qualify for AARP. In 17 years you'll get Social Security. You'll also get cheap theater tickets. They biggest hassle will be chasing me off your lawn but look on the brightside, in 30 years you'll be too senile to care.

Re:Ugh... (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005334)

"Anyone want to trade bodies?"

Sure, but can you drive a 1959 "Uncle Buck" model without endagering small children?

Re:Ugh... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005578)

Hell No!

That last one was ape-shit crazy - and all THIS one does is surf porn and read /.

'nuff said.

Not a chance! (1)

fuego451 (958976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005758)

"I want to be older, I'm tired of this long school day bullshit."

Better to want to do the very best you can where you are in life. I wouldn't trade my 65 years of experiences and my white hair for anything in this world.

9 minute audio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31004952)

It felt like 5!

oh (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 4 years ago | (#31004962)

I've assumed that time is actually just speeding up. Based on research that consisted of watching lots of Star Trek: TNG, I decided a spatial anomaly is to blame. As a bonus, this also explains the Pioneer anomaly; the probe appears to be slowing down because it's getting out of reach of the speedy-time anomaly.

Re:oh (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006050)

"Speed-time anomaly" All of that and you can't get better technobabble than "speed-time"? How about the "temporal-acceleration anomaly" on chronotron singularity. C'mon. Anything sounds better than "speed-time". Of course, whether it is a chronotron singularity or a tachyon flux will make a big difference. In the first case, high warp factors in the vicinity could cause a local bubble of space-time. This is a risk with a tachyon flux also but can be handled if the deflector shields are modified to keep the warp-field out of phase with the neutrino emissions.

defrag me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31004988)

I've always put it down as either our heads getting bigger, or brain matter getting either denser or more complexly connected. I'd like a defrag please.

No, you need an upgrade... (2, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005146)

> I'd like a defrag please.

...needing to defrag is like saying you need fresh horses...

Hellooo...have you seen the type of brains available now? Six, going on seven layers...adaptive reasoning, darwin-series inhibitors, enlarged stem, v2 fight-or-flight firmware. Things have changed since some people started wearing pants you know.

Re:No, you need an upgrade... (2, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005460)

Oh, I see you're one of those models. You feel totally superior to the previous generation, but have not quite realized that your feature set will be superseded with a bigger and better one Very Soon(tm).

    Good luck with all your new features, and pants, you'll be needing it.

Re:No, you need an upgrade... (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005684)

And I have this pain in all the diodes on my right side, oh I'm so depressed...

Re:defrag me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005394)

If our memory is holographic and/or fractal in nature, how or why would we need to "defrag" the brain?

Re:defrag me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005514)

I've always put it down as either our heads getting bigger, or brain matter getting either denser or more complexly connected. I'd like a defrag please.

My problem is that when I try to learn something new now, I keep getting a "disk full" error.

Perception (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005086)

Generally young people have a lot more to look forward too so time seems to go by quickly, older people have really not much to look forward to so time goes slowly. How many times in school did you count down the days till summer? With older people there is less to look forward to because there is generally less things to -do- that is fresh and new. While you might have really enjoyed TV while young, by the time someone is older they begin to see that all of the plots are exactly the same.

Re:Perception (2, Interesting)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005754)

It's strange, I have this discussion with my older siblings (20 and 18 years older, and I'm 51). For them time is rushing past, and years seem to go by quickly. For me, time has slowed down drastically from what it felt like years ago. I don't know for sure, but about 7 years ago I started unintentionally reducing the time I spend watching TV. Now I go days without watching anything (and missing some programs I would like to watch but forget about). I spend a huge amount of time reading articles and looking for things on the Internet, and can spend hours randomly surfing Youtube. I don't read as many books as I used to, and except for the odd photography magazine I've bailed out on magazines altogether. About all I read in book form now are manga takubon, and maybe 8 or 9 times a year I'll re-read one of my paperbacks. I study Japanese for about an hour a night after work, and work days drag on and on. I just got back from Christmas vacation with my family about 4 weeks ago, and it seems like 4 months. It may be that I perceive the time when I'm not doing things I want to do as taking longer than things I do, like time off from work. The time between vacations feels like forever.

I don't know, all I know is time seems to go by at the same rate as it did back when I was in college 30 years ago, so maybe it's a good thing.

nine minute audio?! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005096)

shit, that's a boredom-laced eternity.

Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey (1)

Seriousity (1441391) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005116)

How about this: the universe has expanded to it's apex some time ago and is now contracting, and the gradual deflation of the space-time continuum is causing time itself to slow down, befuddling our limited perception? Doesn't the basic theory that underlies all we know about the universe warn that this very scenario is a possibility? Or are we now under quantum theory where time doesn't start slowing down until we realize that it already is?
...Oh shit, I sure hope not, if we are then I've just triggered the end of the unive

Re:Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey (2, Funny)

lewiley (1620203) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005176)

I'm sure the Universe is expanding because when I drive to my son's house it seems further away every year. Actually, time goes faster because we accelerate when we go downhill!

1 Day Expressed as a Percentage of Your Life (5, Interesting)

MystHunter (1211360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005156)

If you are 1 year old, then 1 day represents about 1/365th of your life. If you are 10 years old, then 1 day represents about 1/3,650th of your life. Thus the older you are the faster time may appear to pass by. When you are 1 year old, 1 day may seem to last much longer than 1 day when you are 10 years old.

Re:1 Day Expressed as a Percentage of Your Life (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005426)

Actually you are very close but you stole an idea I had almost 50 years ago but even then I thank Einstein for his relativity theory. :)

Time in fact is relative so that when you are 2 years old 1 year is half your life so it represents a very long sense of time. When you are 50 it is 1/50th of your life so the passage of 1 year is very little time.

The sense of time is at least in part a function of your life experience and you can check this by simply talking with young children about the time frame of christmas or birthdays or if you discuss an exciting event that is approaching. Their sense of time is distorted compared to say the perception of someone 25 or 50 waiting to experience the same type of event and what they will describe how far away it seems.

But there is one constant. No matter the age of a person, if they are kept busy or focused on something, the sense of time changing will be described in a similar fashion by all those age groups. It speeds up. How about a really good movie compared to a boring one. Ask a kid. This is an important factor if you want to claim the sense of time passage relates to simply a biological aging of our built in clock. Our internal clock doesn't just go wonky because someone is older. Not unless from the time we are born it begins to act erratically.

So my conclusion is to go with Einstein in that time is relative.

Re:1 Day Expressed as a Percentage of Your Life (2, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005534)

So my conclusion is to go with Einstein in that time is relative.

Except that Einstein's special theory of relativity is talking about time _really_ being relative, not perception of absolute-time being relative.

Re:1 Day Expressed as a Percentage of Your Life (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005866)

What if you could ride a train that goes at the speed of light, away from that boring movie. Would said movie become even more boring?

Re:1 Day Expressed as a Percentage of Your Life (4, Interesting)

Pike (52876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005966)

I visualized this idea in a graph [jdueck.net] a few years ago.

Re:1 Day Expressed as a Percentage of Your Life (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006208)

Other than being something interesting to think about, why would this cause my actual perception of time to change?

The perceived flow of time depends on what you're doing and thinking. This is obvious even to children, who get bored sitting in a doctor's office for 20 minutes but complain that they didn't have enough time to play after 4 hours of friend time. If it seems related to age, it's because our typical patterns of thought change as we age, and we grow more patient. Duh. I don't see what the big mystery is here.

And in the next episode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005184)

A radio host will explain why the pioneer anomaly has taken place. The explanation will be structured according to the following: 'it could be reason A, it could be B, it might be C, or it might be something completely different'. News follows at 9.

Relative memory versus time (3, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005206)

When you're one year old, your entire life memory is a year. Thus, a year's passage is a lifetime. When you're 100, a year's passage is 1/100th of the same time.

Re:Relative memory versus time (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005242)

When you are 1 year old, your entire life memory is like a day or a week.

Re:Relative memory versus time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005696)

When you are 1 year old, your entire life memory is like a day or a week.

and when you are a 100 your memory is like a day or a week.
You're usually also bald and crying most the time, So what's your point?

Re:Relative memory versus time (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006194)

When you are 1 year old, you don't even know what a
day or a week really is.

Now, where's that nipple?

Re: Relative memory versus time (4, Insightful)

Roblimo (357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005428)

Exactly. At age 57, time doesn't "pass faster" for me than it did when I was 23 or 24, but each day adds a lower percentage of new experiences and memories than it did back then. This should be obvious to most people over age 10 who have decent memories.

Re: Relative memory versus time (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005874)

Yeah...it's not like a day actually seems longer. It's just that your memory of the last year seems shorter. I remember half way through my first year of college that semester seemed so long. It was that it was actually longer, it's just that with the new relationships, new intellectual experiences, net friends, new...er...substances, there was just so much that happened in those few months.

Now I look back over the last few months and the bulk of it is been there done that stuff I've been doing for decades.

Re: Relative memory versus time (2, Informative)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005990)

At age 57, time doesn't "pass faster" for me than it did when I was 23 or 24, but each day adds a lower percentage of new experiences and memories than it did back then.

Well, duh. Near the level cap, it takes more XP to advance.

Re:Relative memory versus time (1)

KyoMamoru (985449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005526)

I've always felt this way as well. Also, all things in time tend to be rather relative. When I was younger, I used to feel that a car ride that took two hours was FOREVER, but now that I've endured a twenty hour drive [Hurricane Katrina evacuation], I can comfortably ride for ten hours without even being bothered.

Reminds me of an old joke (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005230)

Q: Why did the boy throw a clock out the window?

A: To see time fly

My pet theory (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005332)

My personal theory without reading TFA[1] is this: When you are younger your head is in "learning mode". In learning mode the brain tries to absorb as much info and details about a given event as possible. In order to do this, it has to focus on lots of details. The more details the brain processes, the slower time seems to move because we unconsciously calculate the passage of time by the quantity of events, in part. The more events, the more time we assumed has passed. Thus, if we are paying attention to more events, consciously or unconsciously, then more events are used in our mental time passage calculation.

[1] Skipped it out of a random whim

Re:My pet theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005380)

Wow. "..your head is in 'learning mode'".

That's a great theory. I hope you publish that.

Re:My pet theory (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005824)

This seems logical, and jibes with my experience so far, in possibly explaining why my time sense is skewed longer than my contemporaries. For me time goes by very slowly even though I'm just over 50. I'm trying to learn Japanese and occasionally trying my had at photography, as well as trying to keep up with learning more programming things for my day job. Used to be a voracious book reader and TV watcher, but now I'm more active in going out and looking for new things on the Internet. Trying to stay in "learning mode" as much as possible, and hopefully avoiding the Alzheimer's that took my father and grandfather. Except for during work when time drags on and on, I don't really mind having a slower time sense.

Christmas & not being in school (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005350)

I've thought a good bit about this.

1) Each day is a smaller percentage of your life as you get older.

2) Christmas is a black hole that slows down time. You're a greedy kid who is constantly anticipating Christmas.

3) Related to 2, when you are looking towards a goal (finals, spring break, etc) I think time slows down a bit. But most people aren't going to do that for retirement (even if we are allowed to retire). You then go into day-by-day mode and that goes a lot faster.

Re:Christmas & not being in school (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005560)

1) Each day is a smaller percentage of your life as you get older.

My thoughts exactly. I wonder if a person suffering from total or partial amnesia senses passage of time differently. And if so, whether a test made to determine sense of time's passage could help diagnose levels of amnesia.

Phsycological (1)

TandooriC (1525601) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005378)

If it is phycological that means I just need to change my way of thinking right? Right? Right? Come on... why isn't anyone answering me?

Re:Phsycological (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005478)

If it is phycological that means I just need to change my way of thinking right? Right? Right? Come on... why isn't anyone answering me?

Because you failed phycology

Re:Phsycological (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005832)

Maybe he needs pharmacology.

your aging gets slower and slower (1)

jkajala (711071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005400)

Of course (?) one hour for a person of age 5 is a LOT longer than one hour for a person of age 50. Compare how many % that hour is of his/her life... One hour is 10 times bigger part of life for 5 year old than 50.

My Grandfather always said, (5, Funny)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005454)

"Life is like a roll of toilet paper: the older you get, the faster it goes."

Re:My Grandfather always said, (1)

crf00 (1048098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006146)

lol +1 Funny. XD

It's brain efficiency (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005458)

I would say it has to do with what the brain expects. When we are young, or we try something novel, the brain doesn't know how to best allocate resources to it. So it allocates more resources to counter the unexpected events that could pop up, this results in some energy waste.

When we do something we have done before, we know what to expect so that the brain can efficiently calculate resources required for that task. This more efficient resource allocation results in dampened personal experience as we age, because incidents of unexpected events reduce in frequency.

I knew it (2, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005492)

each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

I figured that out all on my own in my mid twenties. Seems like it was just yesterday.

my theory (2, Insightful)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005504)

I've oft thought that you measure duration, by how many interesting events have happened in the time span, you've been measuring. Although boring times, drag by, when you in them. Looking backward you rembember so little of them, that the time has almost disappeared from you mind. Of course as you get older, there's less and less that you haven't already seen before, and so looking back time seems to be moving so much quicker.

---

Psychology [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Possible solution? (3, Interesting)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005710)

On a related note:

The Secret Advantage Of Being Short [npr.org]

So if we grow taller with age, time will remain constant.

Brilliant!!

We have more stuff to do! (4, Interesting)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005722)

Time flies when having fun, and as one gets older, one is allowed to do more fun things. People also get more responsibility as they age, so more responibilities = less time. That's my thesis; I think it's pretty good!

Re:We have more stuff to do! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005938)

That's most likely it. More time doing things you don't want to do, means more time not being bored for nothing to do. If time seems to fly for me now, it's mostly because I haven't the amount of free time I used to have.

How much faster? (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005920)

Heard once (no reference available) that the subjective experience of a normal modern lifetime is half over by the time you reach 20. So the last 60(?) years seem as long as the first 20. Wonder if it's a linear decay or something more exotic... with only one (admittedly unsubstantiated) data point, it's impossible to know.

man... (1)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006020)

that MP3 felt more like 7 minutes rather than 9.

Wait.... Shit..

The real reason why time accelerates (1)

taucross (1330311) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006098)

You've heard the saying "time flies when you're having fun", right? Well there is an important reason for this.

There are only two things that exist in this universe from a human perspective. These two things are the desire for pleasure, and the filling of that desire. Even a cursory look into it will show you that pleasure (and the pursuit thereof) is the regulator of all human action. For instance, I would not be typing this message for you were it not to give me pleasure (or a calculated amount of suffering for a greater future pleasure).

Picture a small pool of water - this is the desire for pleasure - and a drop of water hitting it - this is the fulfilment of it. The ripples, the water's sole measurable reaction to the droplet, are waves which we perceive as pleasure. Pleasure is felt at time of impact between desire and fulfillment - this is why, unfortunately, pleasure isn't felt forever as the fulfillment, like a drop of water, is nullified within the larger body of the vessel.

Consider the bandwidth of these ripples. A larger vessel will result in a larger bandwidth. As we grow, this vessel grows larger with us, due to the increased pleasure that lies beneath the surface. The lower bandwidth results in the perception of an acceleration of time.

So why does lower bandwidth result in "faster" time? Again, we need to go back to the start where I made the important point that a human organism is regulated by pleasure. It only perceives pleasure. Therefore, a lower bandwidth of pleasure means that the time between the ripples is not perceived by the human organism. As such, more time is passing between perception of pleasure - the the timing of the inanimate level (i.e. the clock) moves at a faster rate versus our perception.

For me ... (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006104)

every 15 minutes it's breakfast time.

My thoughts on this (1)

harlequinn (909271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006132)

Maybe it's because we experience events in real time and recall all events almost instantly.

So when you are 10 years old you only recall a very small amount of life. Recollection is instant and seems to encompass a huge amount of experiences (which is true since you are new to life).

But when you are 50 years old you recall all 50 years almost instantly and it seems as though it has happened so quickly (it has - you just remembered 50 years in the same small amount of time where you used to recall only 10).

This is quite different to what the article suggests since they talk of the density of the experience rather than the speed of recollection versus amount of life experienced.

Porcupine Tree (2, Informative)

npoczynek (1259228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006178)

Porcupine Tree's most recent album has an excellent 15 minute epic on this subject, titled "Time Flies". Check it out if you're bored one day and in the mood for some excellent modern rock.
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