freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Why spring comes quicker as you get older | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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Winter is officially over – as of yesterday – but how did you react to the arrival of spring this year?

Wow, it’s spring already? That came around quickly.

Or

Finally, I thought winter would never end.

Your answer could depend on your age, says Duke University researcher Professor Adrian Bejan. The older you are, the faster time flies, he explains. And it’s all to do with how quickly (or slowly) your brain processes visual information.

As the human body ages, the brain obtains and processes images more and more slowly, says the Prof. And that’s because all those nerves and neurons get bigger and more complex, so it takes longer for signals from your eyes to get to your brain.

Children process visual information faster than adults – according to Bejan you can see this working by looking at how often children’s eyes move (they move more often than adults’ eyes, apparently). This means their brains receive more information, which makes it seem as if time is passing more slowly – whereas for older people who are receiving less visual information in the same amount of actual time, time seems to be passing more quickly.

“People are often amazed at how much they remember from days that seemed to last forever in their youth,” he says. “It’s not that their experiences were much deeper or more meaningful, it’s just that they were being processed in rapid fire.

“The human mind senses time changing when the perceived images change. The present is different from the past because the mental viewing has changed, not because somebody’s clock rings. Days seemed to last longer in your youth because the young mind receives more images during one day than the same mind in old age.”

Fascinating, right?

So next time you think your day has whizzed by, it’s not that time is going faster, it’s your brain getting slower.

Bejan’s research was published online on March 18 in the journal European Review.

 

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash