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Neuroscientist Explains Why Time 'Goes Quicker' As We Get Older

Neuroscientist Explains Why Time 'Goes Quicker' As We Get Older

Neuroscientist David Eagleman explained that as we get older our minds trick us into believing, 'we're all living a little bit in the past'.

Do you ever find yourself looking at old Instagram photos, asking, ‘where has the time gone?’ As we get older, it feels as though time quite literally is flying past us, but it didn’t feel like when we were children.

In fact, it felt as though time stood still during those summer holidays and now, a neuroscientist has explained why our perception of time gets quicker as we become adults, revealing that age and memory plays a major role.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman has explained that part of that feeling is down to our minds making us believe 'we're all living a little bit in the past' and that things 'going in slow motion is a trick of memory'.

Additionally, when we are children, we are constantly being introduced to new things and ideas that leave lasting impressions on our memories.

A neuroscientist has explained why time goes faster as you get older.

“You're figuring out the rules of the world, you're writing down a lot of memory, and so when you look back at the end of a year, you have a lot of memory of what you've learnt,” he said in a short 2019 BBC Scotland documentary.

“But when you're much older and you look back at the end of the year, you're probably doing approximately the same stuff you've been doing for the X number of previous years.

“And so, it seems like the year just went by in a flash.”

Eagleman suggested that what you need to do to feel as though you’ve lived longer is search for “novelty” in your day-to-day life - be it putting your watch on your other wrist or brushing your teeth with the opposite hand.

“Something this simple just forces the brain into a new mode where it can't predict exactly what's going to happen but instead has to be engaged,” he added.

“And what that means is when you go to bed at night time, you have a lot of footage to draw upon and it feels like your life is lasting longer.”

David Eagleman revealed that age and memory played a huge role in our perception of time.

Eagleman’s sentiments follow Santosh Kesari, MD, PHD, neurologist, neuro-oncologist, neuroscientist comments about how age and memory play a huge role in our retrospective perception of time, in other words remembered time rather then time in the present.

Speaking to NBC News in 2018, Kesari said: “Most [adults] feel that time elapsed slowly in their earlier days, but then speeds up later in life.

“For a 10-year-old, one year is 10 percent of their lives. For a 60-year-old, one year is less than two percent of their lives.

“We gauge time by memorable events and fewer new things occur as we age to remember, making it seem like childhood lasted longer.” The more you know eh?

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Science