Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Time Perception and Age

A story on NPR that nicely fits into my involvements with mindfulness:
"Why Does Time Fly By As You Get Older?"
Link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122322542&sc=nl&cc=es-20100301

Some quotes:

when you recall your first kisses, early birthdays, your earliest summer vacations, they seem to be in slow motion? "I know when I look back on a childhood summer, it seems to have lasted forever ...

That's because when it's the "first", there are so many things to remember. The list of encoded memories is so dense, reading them back gives you a feeling that they must have taken forever. But that's an illusion. "It's a construction of the brain," says Eagleman. "The more memory you have of something, you think, 'Wow, that really took a long time!'

That may be because the brain records new experiences — especially novel and exciting experiences — differently. This is even measurable. Eagleman's lab has found that brains use more energy to represent a memory when the memory is novel.
So, first memories are dense. The routines of later life are sketchy. The past wasn't really slower than the present. It just feels that way.

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