How time flies! And even more so the older we get. The origins of this strange acceleration of our perception of time have been discovered deep within our brains. Adrian Bejan from Duke University in North Carolina, USA, stated:
People are often astonished to remember that days seemed to last forever when they were young. This is not because their feelings were deeper or more meaningful, it's just that they were being processed in bursts [by the brain].
A European Review publication from March 2019 reveals that the evolution of our perception of time passing is linked to a slowing down of the way the brain processes images. This representation of cerebral ageing can be directly observed in our brains.
As they mature, our networks of nerves and neurones grow and become more complex, lengthening the pathways taken by the electrical signals in our brains. In addition to this increasingly complex path, the information pathways that pass through our heads also eventually degrade adding a little more impediment to the passage of these electrical signals.
The same film, but with less footage
The mental images that our brains perceive and process then end up being perceived and processed at a slower rate. According to Bejan, children's eyes move much more frequently than those of adults. A sign, he says, that they perceive and process more information than their elders do.
Like a film from which some footage has been removed, life seems to speed up as you get older. Adrian Bejan concluded:
The human mind perceives an evolution of time through changing images. The present is different from the past because one’s mental images have changed, not because of the ticking of an internal clock. The days seemed to last longer in your youth because the young mind receives more images in a day than the same mind does in old age.
Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking…