British study finds that pandemic has affected people’s sense of time

U.S. & World

(WDIV) – Researchers are looking into how the change in activity during the peak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impact our sense of time.

Have you felt like the passage of time has been distorted? Especially during the stay-at-home order? Then you aren’t alone. Some people felt it sped up, others felt it slowed down. As it turns out, the way you felt really depended on your circumstances.

A recently published British study asked more than 600 people a simple question. Thinking about today, or this week, how quickly has time felt like it was passing in comparison to normal?

The researchers found roughly 40 percent of people thought it was going faster. On the other side, 40 percent felt time slowed down. Only around 19 percent of people felt time passed at a normal rate.

The study found there were four main factors associated with a distorted perception of time. The first was age. Increasing age was associated with an increasingly slower passage of time, that was especially true for people more than 60 years old.

The next element was how satisfied or happy someone was in their social interactions. Time passed more quickly with increased satisfaction in social interactions.

The amount of stress a person was under also impacted the perception of time. More stress was associated with a slowing of time.

Finally, how busy you felt was important. The busier a person was, the faster time seemed to pass.

There were several other factors that did not influence perception of time. Those include whether you lived alone, were employed, did more physical activity or felt you were at risk of illness.


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