Older Folks and the Employment Scene
Sins of the World Wide Web

Proof of the Speed of Time?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Don Murray's column today in the Boston Globe is about "the wonderful realities we rush by during the busy years in the center of our lives."

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece here on some theories of why time seems to speed up as we get older. Eric Antonow responded in an email with such an interesting follow-up that I posted it too.

The Speed of Time
The Speed of Time: Cache Time

Eric was having so much fun with the theories that he posted three more stories about them on his site:

Theories of Time's Passing: Clearing the Cache
Travel and the Cache
Psychology Support for Caching Theory

And travelertrish chimed in on her site with more thoughts about Slowing Time Down.

Now, two researchers believe they have proved that time, in at least one circumstance, does fly.

“Dr. Anthony Chaston and his research colleague, Dr. Alan Kingstone, have proven, once and for all, that time really does fly when you're having fun. Or, at least, it flies when your attention is engaged.”

          - NewsWise, 6 August 2004

Their research involved having test subjects estimate how long they would spend at a task before they had done it, called prospective time, and estimate how long they spent at a task when they had finished, call retrospective time.

“There's generally a big difference between prospective and retrospective time estimations,” Chaston said. ‘In our society, we're pretty good with prospective estimates. Most of us wear watches, and we're pretty good at keeping track of the time because we have to for most of our regular, daily lives…
“’This really shows that even if you know in advance that you're going to have to estimate the time of a task, the more attention the task requires, the faster time flies.’"

          - NewsWise, 6 August 2004

Unless I’m confusing the issues, these researchers seem to contradict what Eric, travelertrish and I and some people who commented concluded that being engaged is what slows down time. But they didn’t have the advantage of our thinking about “cache time.”


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