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What is time perception?
This topic is a social problem, everyone has their own perception of time. If I ask a few random people about the perception of their week, some of them will answer that the week was too long, a few guys will tell me that it was normal and others will say that it went by too fast.
But everyone knows that a week has 7 days, 168 hours, 10080 minutes or if you prefer, 60 4800 seconds. Oh well, I know that the physics defend that this isn’t absolutely true, but let’s be realistic, for regular people, it is.
So, how can we all perceive time differently?
Several studies have explored this paradigm and came to different conclusions. Claudia Hammond wrote: “We construct the experience of time in our minds, so it follows that we are able to change the elements we find troubling — whether it’s trying to stop the years racing past, or speeding up time when we’re stuck in a queue, trying to live more in the present, or working out how long ago we last saw our old friends.” (cited by Maria Popova)
This author stated “time can be a friend, but it can also be an enemy”, which is something I really believe in. If you feel like your day goes by way too slow and there are too many hours in the day, probably something isn’t right in what you do every day.
For Hammond “It is clear that however the brain counts time, it has a system that is very flexible. It takes account of [factors like] emotions, absorption, expectations, the demands of a task and even the temperature”.
The human perception of this subject is a very complex theme, but for me the real question is: if you can control factors like emotions, body behaviour and others similar factors, shouldn’t you be able to control your own perception of time?
Well, science doesn’t know that for sure. But two researchers, Allyn and Bacon, believe that there are a few listed factors that we should take into consideration in order to maybe one day be able to control time:
- Four factors appear to influence time perception: characteristics of the time experiencer, time-related behaviors and judgments. Which are the contents and activities during a time period.
- Time is of greater concern to different cultures and different groups within the same culture. Nonetheless, all people have a number of internal processes that follow circadian rhythms, suggesting the presence of an internal biological clock.
- In time perception research, one might choose a dependent variable from among several options. (a) time estimation, using common units (mins, secs), magnitude estimation, or rating scales; (b) time production; (c) reproduction; and, (d) comparisons of time intervals.
- The contents of a period influence duration estimations; it seems longer if it is intense, complex, and segmented. Evidence suggests that a filled time period is perceived as longer than an empty period. Although it appears that this might well be due to expectations derived from the information filling the period.
- Activities of the participants influence duration estimations; time period is judged less accurately if people are performing other tasks simultaneously. Minutes appears to pass more slowly if people are waiting for an unpleasant event.