Oh, how time flies! And the more it passes, the more one feels like... it passes quickly. This strange acceleration of our perception of time, which researchers have managed to discover the origins of, are nested within our brains.
‘People are often astonished to remember when days seemed to last forever in their youth. It was not that their feelings were much deeper or more significant, it was simply a kind of burst [by the brain],’ explains Adrian Bejan from Duke University in North Carolina, USA.
Processes that slow down
In the course of a publication published in the European Review journal, the scientist revealed that the evolution of our perception of the passage of time is linked to a slowing down of the processes in which the brain processes images. This reflection of cerebral ageing is observable directly within our brains.
Over the course of their maturation, our networks of nerves and neurones grow and become more complex, thus making the path traveled by the electrical signals that circulate there more sinuous. And besides this increasingly complex journey, information trails which occur in our heads also end up degrading, adding another obstacle to the passage of electrical signals.
Same movie, but with fewer images
The mental images that our brain perceives and treats thus end up being at a slower pace. The proof, according to Adrian Bejan, is that the eyes of children process movements much more quickly than adults do. A sign, he says, that they perceive and process information in greater numbers than their elders do.
Like a film which has had images removed, life seems to accelerate as we get older. ‘The human mind perceives an evolution of time when the perceived images change.The present is different from the past because the mental vision has changed, not because of someone’s internal clock. The days seemed to last longer in your youth because a young person receives more images in the course of a day than an older person,’ concludes Adrian Bejan. Meanwhile time keeps going…
Check out the video above for more on this intriguing phenomenon...