Why does psychology always change over time?

Why does time pass faster in old age?

Already seen a lot

On the one hand, we put the time that we experience in relation to the time that we have already experienced. For a ten-year-old, a year is one tenth of his entire lifetime, for a fifty-year-old the same year is only one-fiftieth - she has already seen 49 others. That is one reason why the age of fifty seems shorter than the age of ten. In addition, in retrospect, the longer it appears, the more has happened. This is confirmed by the psychologist Marc Wittmann, who is intensively concerned with the phenomenon of time experience in Freiburg.

More new things happen in the first 30 years

And that also applies to life: a lot happens in the first thirty years of life: we grow up, school, training, often a series of partnerships. A lot can still happen in the second thirty years, but usually less. We stay as big as we are, the personality is already developed, our everyday life often changes little over a long period of time.

Less happens in old age "for the first time"

Therefore, in retrospect, people find it longer for the first 30 years. Because so much happens there, also emotionally. A lot happens for the first time, first love, first sex, first own apartment, first vacation without parents, first job, everything is exciting. The older we get, the more we have already seen of the world, the less happens “for the first time”. There are less significant events. This also explains why time seems to pass faster in old age.

Shorter periods of time are experienced for a similarly long time

At least that's true if we look back over longer periods of time, the last five or ten years. This is not necessarily the case for shorter periods of time. A 20-year-old doesn't necessarily feel a week or a day longer than a 60-year-old. It depends very much on what actually happens during this time.

Boring times are short in memory

And there is another interesting phenomenon. Psychologists differentiate between the time that is currently passing and the time that we look back on. An exciting two-week holiday with many impressive experiences goes by very quickly - but these two weeks take up much more space in your memory than if you had spent the same two weeks in the office. Conversely: two hours in the waiting room of a doctor's practice can drag on indefinitely - in contrast, they only remain in the memory as brief snapshots. In other words: boring times are short in the memory and entertaining times are long - and this applies to young and old alike.

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