New Experiences Help Time Pass More Slowly

I learn a lot of stuff from a great website called Lifehacker. It contains all sorts of ways to make your life easier and cheaper, from learning about what new gadget google has to turning cinder-blocks into planters. In my appreciation, I've decided to devote this week's Stuff I've Just Learned posts from recent Lifehacker entries.

"Why New Experiences Are Important, and How They Positively Affect Your Perception of Time"
(from 5/17/11)

Time may tick by at a consistent beat, but that's not how our brains perceive time. Instead, if something is unfamiliar and thus harder for our brain to process, time appears to slow down as our minds organize the new information. Conversely if something is familiar/easier to process, time appears to speed up.

From Lifehacker:
Neuroscientist David Eagleman, who has extensively studied the effects of our brain's perception of time, believes that this effect makes time fly by faster as we age. His profile in the New Yorker, written by Burkhard Bilger, explains further:

"This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older," Eagleman said-why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we're dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass. "Time is this rubbery thing...it stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, ‘Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,' it shrinks up."

...If we perceive time more slowly when we're processing the unfamiliar, than the frequent introduction of the unfamiliar could help our perception of time from rapidly shrinking.
Click here to read more about fascinating perception-of-time Eagleman's research.

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