Tag Archives: Memory

Time Flies

Lately there never seems to be enough hours in the day, it seem the busier I get the faster time seems to pass and the less it seems I get done overall.

It reminds me of my mum and other old folks telling me that time flies by, enjoy it while your young because it goes so quickly or various versions of the same tale.

A while ago I read an article on the perception of time speeding up as you get older. Science it seems says it true and there are a few fairly interesting theories as to why it happens, or at least we perceive it to have speeded up at least. Over the years Scientific American, The Daily Mail, The Independent, and many more have posted articles based on fairly solid research. There are 3 which I think are quite interesting and I can sort of see.

Out of Storage Space

This theory is that we have a certain amount of “storage memory”. While we are young we have apparent boundless space so we member everything and savour the details, the more we store. One suggestion were that as a child we pay more attention to the frivolous, meaning more detail is recorded so the slower it seems to pass. As the memory gets fuller (or we get more organised) we record less and less details, so time appears to pass faster.

This theory also explains what happens when the memory bank gets critically full, it randomly fills in gaps which much like a computer hard drives’ fragmentation causes our memory to slow down.  Eventually the brain is forced to ‘erase’ old and less useful memories, which can lead to corruptions in said memory with repeated erases, rewrites and extreme fragmentation.

Time Pressure

Time pressure is one we can all appreciate. Studies in Munich by Marc Wittman and Sandra Lehnhoff of Ludwig-Maximilian University (Munich) showed “time pressure” experienced by essentially working age people (20-59) which is the feeling we have too much to do and don’t have time to get it all done.

This is essentially simple over-estimation of out capabilities or under-estimation of time required which creates a time pressure or speeding of time.

Mundane Exclusions

This is one of my favourite theories. This theory says that when things are new or unusual we pay more attention thus slowing down time. As things get boring we stop paying attention and don’t create new memories, so we “jump” them. This creates the illusion that real time is speeding on by.

The older you get, the fewer things / experiences are new to you, the more things / experiences become mundane and the faster your accelerate through time.

Personally I can relate to all of them but I think its time pressure for me compounded by my memory getting fragmented.