Time Perception: Where Did The Time Go?
It's All in Your Head
There is a field of study within psychology dedicated to addressing the subjective experience of time, delving into how it arose over the course of human evolution. It's been decided that time perception is not a purely innate process, but a complex character that we have developed over the course of our evolution, as well as which we learn during the span of our lifetime. The perception of time can differ significantly from person to person, based on different characteristics held as well as the interference of factors in the environment.
Colloquialisms like "a watched pot never boils" and "time flies when you are having fun" are based on how our enjoyment or discomfort in a situation affects the perception. The temporal illusions we all experience mark variation in the perception of the passage of time. Depending on your idiosyncratic experience, you may find yourself asking where did the time go.
It's All Related
As they say, you are what you eat and that includes your memory and perception of your sensory environment. The neurological system that oversees our time perception essentially serves as an internal clock that is impacted by our brain chemistry, with the duration, clarity, and selectivity of memory all coming into play. Adrenaline can change our perception of time. Which means that under periods of excitement, good or otherwise, our perception of an event is later recalled by the presence of a memory trace, which can be impacted by different neurotransmitter levels.
Attention to what's going on around you is hugely important in your perceived measurement of the duration of an event. Perception of time is inextricable from memory; our memory of an event is what makes it seem long or short. Memory traces are essentially markers left in a certain region of the brain from an event.
Where Did the Time Go
As we interact with the world, we reorganize the raw sensory information from the environment around us into something that we can understand. New information takes more time to coalesce into our world views than does information that we've been exposed to before, which can, in some situations, make our experience in time feel longer. The more familiar the task, the less the brain needs to work. We refer to these as habits, whereas tasks or events with which we are less familiar, need more attention or energy to be processed and understood. This can lead to an altered emotional state and may subsequently impact recall.
How We Perceive Time
Mental health is inextricable from our experience as world citizens. With each area of the brain serving a unique yet combined purpose, overall health is important to keep them functioning at their best. BetterHelp is an online interface developed with the aim of connecting quality mental health professionals efficiently and affordably with those in need. Much is yet to be learned about how time is experienced and processed, but what is already known promises much individual application in improving understanding and comfort in life.