Often when you’re getting old, your time feels so fast. You go to work at morning, but suddenly it’s already late afternoon. Why does time running so fast when we are getting old?
New research in the European Review journal has found new theories about why time passed fast. They put forward an unusual new hypothesis to explain this phenomenon, and it was related to an brain aging.
One common psychological explanation of the faster time passes is we are increasingly not paying attention when the perception and information around us.
For example. Children experience many events and feel they are in a new environment, using significantly more brain power to process information everyday.
When I was a child it felt like being an adult was an endless long journey. As age, the novelty of reality slowly diminishes. As a result, leaving a feeling of time passing faster.
Why Does Time Running Fast When We are Getting Old?
Adrian Bejan from Duke University, understands this idea. He then offered a stronger physical explanation.
Bejan claims this is the result of a younger brain’s ability to identify and integrate mental images in lightning-fast.
“People are often amazed at how much they remember about their youth,” Bejan said in a research release. “It’s not that their experiences is much deeper or more meaningful, it’s just that experiences are processed quickly.”
According to Bejan, the physical characteristics of the brain that able to process mental images will slowing down due to aging.
For example, the saccadic frequency is known to decrease with age. This is our ability to feel a single mental picture.
Studies on babies have revealed that younger eyes move faster during an event if its compared to adults. This shows the minds of young people acquiring and integrating more information faster than the minds of the older people.
This higher load of data perception results in subjective feelings about time ticking more slowly when young and faster when you’re getting old.
“The human mind can feel time changes when the received image changes,” Bejan said.
“The present is different from the past because mental outlook has changed, not because of someone’s age. Days feel longer in youth because young minds receive more images for one day than the same mind in old age.”
Undeniably, Bejan’s ideas are interesting. This shows a neurological mechanism that can explain subjective perceptions of time that passes faster with age.
However, this pure physical mechanism does not fully explain the increase in the speed of time that looks consistent and exponential from year to year with age.
The logarithmic hypothesis fills this gap, indicating the perception of time relative to the proportion of time we live. So proportionally, the age of one year to 10 years feels much longer than one year to 50 years.
Christian Yates, a mathematical biologist from the University of Bath explained, the experience felt from ages 10 to 20 is proportionally from the ages of 40 to 80.
Yates’s explanation is similar to what James M. Broadway, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said. The fact that adults have fewer new experiences than children contributes to the impression that time passes faster.
When I was a child, everything seemed new, and each time brought a myriad of first experiences that were continuously processed and stored in the brain’s memory. In terms of learning to read until learning to cook, understanding new concepts makes time feel slow.
“From childhood to early adulthood, we have countless new experiences and skills. However, as adults, life becomes more routine, and we experience fewer unknown moments,” Broadway said.
He continued, “As a result, our early times tended to be represented relatively in our autobiographical memories, and reflection seems to have lasted longer.”
All of this leads us to the conclusion that time is complicated. More complicated, our perception of time.
“In the last 20 years I realized how much time passed, faster, and I complained that I only had less time,” said Bejan quoted by Quartz.
Bejan’s new idea might be quite accurate. However, this is only a part of a larger puzzle, namely our subjective experience of time.
If you feel that you are moving too fast, worry not. You can make it appear to slow down. The trick, keep the brain active. Maintain a commitment to learn new things, open up to new experiences, regardless of your age.