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An exercise in time perception - Matt Danzico

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Why is that some experiences feel like they last forever, while others fly by? We tend to miscalculate the time it takes to engage in novel activities due to the influence of memories. Matt Danzico explains why your childhood feels like it lasted forever and why that beach vacation seemed like two months rather than two weeks.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Andy London
  • Animator Cindy Tan, Santiago Peralta
  • Artist Jiujiu Liu
  • Educator Matt Danzico
  • Narrator Matt Danzico
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Have you ever wondered why time seemed to pass so slowly when you were a child but sped faster once you hit adulthood?
Research suggests a person’s perception of how much time has passed between two points and how well memories are recorded onto an individual’s brain are partially dependent on the amount of new experiences that person has during any given period of time. And children typically have more new experiences than adults because they are often experiencing the world for the first time.
Scientists are still not in complete agreement on the matter of time perception, as it continues to be a rather unexplored area of research.
But Duke University Psychology Professor Warren Meck has said by the time humans are in their 60s and 70s, and time is beginning to run out, experiences become more important, time slows, and, once again, these individuals remember more details.
BBC News journalist Matt Danzico, and the writer of this TED-Ed Lesson, engaged in a new activity each day throughout 2011 in an effort to slow his perception of his year. The Time Hack was a year-long experiment that saw Danzico attempt to slow his year through fighting a boxer, taking trapeze lessons, and spending time in a sensory deprivation tank – to name a few. Danzico writes that he believes the year-long pursuit forced him to perceive his year as having lasted an extra 14 hours, 43 minutes and 29 over the course of 365 days. His final analysis can be found here.
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What were they? Why do you think this shift in time perception occurred? Were they new experiences?
06/06/2013 • 
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Andy London
  • Animator Cindy Tan, Santiago Peralta
  • Artist Jiujiu Liu
  • Educator Matt Danzico
  • Narrator Matt Danzico