Aging and the speed of time

William Friedman, Stephanus Janssen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    69 Citations (Scopus)


    Correlational and experimental methods provide evidence relevant to seven theories of humans' general impressions of the speed of time, including theories of the purported subjective acceleration of time with aging. A total of 1865 adults from two countries, ranging in age from 16 to 80, reported how fast time appears to pass over different spans of time. Other measures tapped the experience of life changes and time pressure, and experimental manipulations were used to test two models based on forward telescoping and difficulty of recall. Respondents of all ages reported that time seems to pass quickly. In contrast to widely held beliefs, age differences in reports of the subjective speed of time were very small, except for the question about how fast the last 10. years had passed. Findings support a theory based on the experience of time pressure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)130-141
    Number of pages12
    JournalActa Psychologica
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


    • Aging
    • Subjective speed of time
    • Time perception
    • Time pressure


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