One day you’re heading to the beach for a fun day in the sun and the next you’re hanging lights and tinsel on a Christmas tree.
It feels like time speeds up more and more every year, but it’s actually technology speeding up our perception of time, one researcher says.
Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets have trained our brains to process more information, tricking us into thinking time is passing faster than it really is, according to a recent study.
‘I’ve found some indication that interacting with technology and technocentric societies has increased some type of pacemaker within us,’ said James Cook University researcher Dr Aoife McLoughlin in a recent interview.
‘While it might help us to work faster, it also makes us feel more pressured by time.’
The study analyzed individuals who are always connected to technology and those who rarely used it, and compared how each perceived the passage of time.
Findings indicated that those who were glued to screens overestimated the amount of time that had passed, compared to those that rarely used googled, posted or ‘liked’ anything.
Also, the individuals who used technology regularly were more stressed because they were more likely to feel like time was running out.
Even just reading a simple advertisement, subjects perceived time as passing more quickly, than compared to the other group that a long monologue from a ‘real’ book.
‘It’s almost as though we’re trying to emulate the technology and be speedier and more efficient,’ McLoughlin said.
‘It seems like there’s something about technology itself that primes us to increase that pacemaker inside of us that measures the passing of time.”
The findings prove what most have known all along: we need to stop and smell the roses.
In order to stop time from rushing by we need to unplug from the World Wide Web each week to slow down our pacemakers, the study suggested.
Disconnecting seems like a quick fix, but McLoughlin is going to take the study a step further to see if this phenomenon is having any long-term positive or negative effects on our lives.
Other research has shown that technology use can help us process information more efficiently, and actually become faster at performing tasks, which could help us save time in the long run.
The University of Toronto study discovered people who play action video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed seem to learn a new sensorimotor skill more quickly than non-gamers do.
A new sensorimotor skill, such as learning to ride a bike or typing, often requires a new pattern of coordination between vision and motor movement. With such skills, an individual generally moves from novice performance, characterized by a low degree of coordination, to expert performance, marked by a high degree of coordination.
As a result of successful sensorimotor learning, one comes to perform these tasks efficiently and perhaps even without consciously thinking about them, the researchers say.