“The conclusion is that the whole of those laws
of nature which have been woven into a
unified scheme – mechanics, gravitation, electrodynamics and optics – have their origin,
not in any special mechanism of nature,
but in the workings of the mind”
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington
We all have noticed that time drags when we want to get over with something, like getting home after a long commute, or getting out from work after a long day of dealing with difficult things, but also the reverse it’s true, the more busy you are the faster time seems to go by, I remember a particular job I did for three years, were my job was to take call, after call, as a customer service representative, not an easy job, but that I got to like it, because as I got used to, most of the times someone would come to me and tap me on the shoulder, to call my attention, and said, it’s time to go. And it seem to me that I had only been there three, or four hours, rather than eight!
Over a century ago, Albert Einstein postulated that a given time interval is registered differently by independent (moving) clocks. Interestingly, Einstein himself recognized the similarity between the relativity of physical and psychological time: “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute – and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.” Einstein was literally talking about different temporal contexts providing different read-outs for the same physical interval. While relative time became the de-facto view in physics, the relativity of psychological time is still a matter for debate. For example, neuron-biological evidence suggests indeed that major time scales (millisecond, second-to-minutes, and circadian) are processes by different regions of the brain (e.g., cortex, cerebellum, striatum, and suprachiasmatic nucleus), it is still unclear whether everyday timing in the seconds-to-minutes range is performed by a single or rather multiple parallel mechanisms in the brain.
Real or absolute time does not exist – only local time(is), different for each observer.
Short list of types of temporal illusions:
Telescoping effect: People tend to recall recent events as occurring further back in time than they actually did (backward telescoping) and distant events as occurring more recently than they actually did (forward telescoping).
Vierordt’s law: Shorter intervals tend to be overestimated while longer intervals tend to be underestimated
Time intervals associated with more changes may be perceived as longer than intervals with fewer changes
Perceived temporal length of a given task may shorten with greater motivation
Perceived temporal length of a given task may stretch when broken up or interrupted
Auditory stimuli may appear to last longer than visual stimuli
Time duration may appear longer with greater stimulus intensity (e.g., auditory loudness or pitch)
Simultaneity judgments can be manipulated by repeated exposure to non-simultaneous stimuli