Time is just a human perception

Activation level

High or low motivation, interest. Low motivation for current events leads to spontaneous overestimation of the timescales, as does high motivation for future activity (expectation). Subjectively, time can pass faster with high motivation. These relationships are reversed in memory.

Context of the situation

The execution of time is determined by the balance between the personal pace and the social pace of the environment. The result is the impression of boredom or hectic.

Time perspective

Individual processing and evaluation of the event time. One can focus more on the past, present or future, adapt to the zeitgeist (be "up to date") or refuse it.

Pharmacological substances

Drugs can change the assessment of time extremely: Hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline, psilocybin in some mushrooms), caffeine lead to an overestimation of time ranges, tranquilizers, quinine and laughing gas cause an underestimation.

Mental impairments, pathological conditions

So appears z. B. In the case of depression, the perception of time is stretched:

"A disturbed experience of time in model psychosis with LSD always occurred with sensory impressions that left the test person nowhere to linger and gave him the feeling that everything around him was dissolving. A standstill and the inability to perceive movement sequences as continuous events were coupled with one another. The time of the ego was extremely unstable with rapid changes and great stretches. In addition, the test subjects confused the ego time and the world time, combined with a temporary loss of awareness of reality.

Depression is often a disturbance in the internal clock. In this context, the first symptom to be recognized is sleep disorders. The sick person's discomfort can be remedied in the short term by sleep deprivation. In the case of seasonal depression, which occurs every year at the same time of year, light therapy, coupled with timer therapy, is particularly suitable. Light therapy and physical activity with a social alarm clock affect the internal clock. "(Abnormal time perception)

Age range

Although the perception of time is in principle innate, we first have to develop the time order in learning processes. In this way, recurring needs such as hunger and thirst are satisfied by recurring satisfactions such as eating and drinking. This results in a conditioned expectation for the future fulfillment of needs and thus a time frame in which these fulfillments come into play.

Only around the age of eight is a child able to reconstruct events in the correct chronological order. Younger children measure the passage of time to a large extent on spatial conditions, which often corresponds to the natural assessment: Longer journeys take longer.

Example of children's time estimates (after Schenk-Danzinger, 1974, p. 76)

"How old are you?" "4 1/2" "Do you have any siblings?" "Big brother, he goes to school." "Was he born before you or after you?" "Before." "" Who is older? "" My brother, because he was born taller. "" How much older was your brother when he was younger? "" 2 years. "" And now? "" 4 years. "" Can he Change the difference? "" "No ... but if I eat a lot of soup, I'll overtake him." "How do you know if someone is older?" "Because you're taller." "Who is older, your father or your grandfather?" "Both the same." "Why?" "Because they're the same size."