Why does time speed up as we age?

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The perception of time speeding up as we age is a well-documented phenomenon and can be attributed to several factors, including changes in our cognitive processes, the proportionality theory, and the novelty and attention theory. One of the primary reasons is the change in our cognitive processes as we age. Research conducted at Eötvös Loránd University suggests that our perception of time changes around the age of 7 due to a shift in the heuristics we use to estimate durations. Young children tend to perceive time based on the density of events, while adults use the concept of observer-independent absolute time. This shift is associated with the concept of "absolute time," which we learn around the age of 6 to 10. As we grow older, we start to think about time as a physical entity, independent of the events that it connects, and we become aware that our subjective experience of time may change or be subject to illusions24. The proportionality theory suggests that as we age, each unit of time constitutes a smaller proportion of our total life, making it seem shorter. For example, a year feels longer to a 5-year-old because it represents 20% of their life, while for an 80-year-old, a year is only 1.25% of their life6. The novelty and attention theory posits that our perception of time is influenced by the amount of new information we process. When we are young, we are constantly experiencing new events, learning new skills, and absorbing new information, which makes time seem to pass more slowly. As we age, our routines become more fixed, and we encounter fewer new experiences, causing time to appear to speed up. This is because our brain tends to lump together periods of time when the days or weeks are similar6. It's important to note that while these theories provide some insight into why time seems to speed up as we age, the perception of time is a complex phenomenon that is still not fully understood and is the subject of ongoing research.
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