Age effects in perception of time

Psychol Rep. 2005 Dec;97(3):921-35. doi: 10.2466/pr0.97.3.921-935.


Despite the widespread belief that the subjective speed of the passage of time increases with age, empirical results are controversial. In this study, a combination of questionnaires was employed to assess subjective time perception by 499 subjects, ages 14 to 94 years. Pearson correlations and nonlinear regression analyses on a variety of questionnaires and the age of the participants show that the momentary perception of the passage of time and the retrospective judgment of past periods of time are a function of chronological age; however, small-to-moderate effects accounted for at most 10% of the variance. Results generally support the widespread perception that the passage of time speeds up with age. These results are discussed in the context of models of prospective and retrospective time judgment, but interpretations have to be treated with caution given methodological limitations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Time Perception*