The perception of time

Written on 21 January 2020, 04:03pm

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The perception of time changes constantly, depending on our age or on the activities we’re engaged in. Old people tend to perceive time as moving faster.

The reason? Our brain encodes new experiences, but not familiar ones, into memory, and our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period. In other words, the more new memories we build on a weekend getaway, the longer that trip will seem in hindsight.

Why Does Time Seem to Speed Up with Age?

Most of the memories that we carry with us are from the age 15 to 30. That’s because there are more ‘firsts’ at that age compared to the late fifties, for instance. This effect is known as the reminiscence effect, or reminiscence bump.

If we want life to slow down, to make moments memorable and our lives unforgettable, we may want to remember to harness the power of firsts.
If you always eat in front of the TV, it might make the day feel a little more extraordinary if you gather for a family dinner around a candlelit table.

There’s an art to happy memories — you can make more by experiencing more “first”s

There is also the common feeling that you have less and less time. While this can be often explained by bad planning, the situation is more complex. One of the activities that are taking up our time is the household work. The technological progress gave us the impression that they should be a thing of the past. After all, we now have washing machines, dryers, vacuum robots, better cooking devices, and so on. Yet, we spend more or less the same time around the house. “New home tech also created new kinds of work that absorbed the extra time”: see the refrigerator + supermarket cycle.

In the 1950s, a British civil servant coined the term Parkinson’s Law to explain the phenomenon that “work expands to fill the available time.” The rule first described the seemingly infinite busywork of government bureaucracies. But it might also apply to housework. Expectations rose, and work expanded to fill the available time.

Three Theories for Why You Have No Time

(somehow related, it’s the Jevons paradox: Increases in energy efficiency generate savings. History shows all savings are spent).

Then, there are the children. According to a recent study, the amount of time spent by parents on childcare in the United States began to rise dramatically in the mid1990s. The fact that the college tuition keeps rising certainly doesn’t help.

There’s so much of “place” in the world. There’s less time because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter.

The Room movie

Web meets brain

Written on 4 March 2013, 03:29pm

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In the recent period I read some materials regarding the human brain: how it works, what is it good at, its limitations and its bugs. I am listing here the links to the articles/books, along with a short description.

1. Brain Bugs

Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives, By Dean Buonomano (I also recommend the iTunes audiobook).

The human brain is more beautiful and complex than anything we could ever build but it’s far from perfect. Our memory is unreliable; we can’t multiply large sums in our heads; advertising manipulates our judgment; we tend to distrust people who are different from us; supernatural beliefs are hard to shake and we prefer instant gratification to long-term gain. Dean Buonomano illuminates the causes and consequences of these “bugs” in terms of the brain’s innermost workings and their evolutionary purposes.

2. Hacking the brain

Hacking the brain, Richard Shepherd, .Net magazine

“If you make chairs, you’ll want to understand how people sit. If you make user interfaces, then you should understand how people perceive and think.”
With a little borrowing from disciplines such as cognitive psychology and behavioural economics we become able to ‘hack the brain’.
The field of UX is both broad and deep; here are five techniques to get you started.

3. How does the brain keep track of time

How does the brain keep track of time – by Joshua Bixby in Web Performance Today

Luke Jones of the University of Manchester talks about the fact that we’re uncannily good at telling the difference between durations of sound, down to one-tenths of a second, yet we’re terrible at predicting how long it’s going to take us to do something, especially if it’s something you’ve done before. (Apparently, we always underestimate.)

4. Designing for emotion

Designing for emotion by Aaron Walter, A book apart
I read this book more than a year ago, here are my notes about it. The conclusion was:

When you start your next design project, keep this principle in mind: people will forgive shortcomings, follow your lead, and sing your praises if you reward them with positive emotion.

designing for emotion NET234.f_hacking brain bugs