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Why time goes faster when we have fun
Time can seem to go faster when people enjoy goal-motivated fun. This is the suggestion of new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, which looked at feelings dubbed 'approach motivation' - emotional states that make individuals want to go and achieve something.
Philip Gable and Bryan Poole, Psychological Scientists from the University of Alabama, discovered it is states that are high in approach motivation that result in people feeling like time is going faster.
It was shown in the study - entitled Time Flies When You're Having Approach-Motivated Fun: Effects of Motivational Intensity on Time Perception - that such feelings occur because of a desire to pursue something, rather than them coming as a consequence of physiological arousal or as an effect of heightened arousal.
Mr Gable noted it is engagement in achievement-directed action that makes time seem to quicken, adding: "Just being content or satisfied may not make time fly, but being excited or actively pursuing a desired object can."
Claudia Hammond, winner of the Society's the Society’s 2012 Public Engagement and Media Award, spoke about time in her award lecture at our Annual Conference this year. Discussing why holidays appear to go fast at the time, but when you look back you feel like you were away for ages, she said
"We judge time prospectively and retrospectively and these two perspectives on time can explain many of its mysteries."
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