COVID-19 has medical experts baffled with its wide array of symptoms and side effects, including skin rashes, loss of taste and smell, and brain fog. Now, researchers at Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. have discovered that the pandemic lockdown distorted our sense of time. Not surprisingly, younger, active people perceived that time passed more quickly, while people over the age of 60 who lived alone and had fewer tasks, felt time almost stood still during lockdown.
According to Ladders, 40% of study participants felt time was passing quicker than before the pandemic, while 40% said it was passing more slowly. Only 19% of those surveyed felt that time was passing by normally.
“These lockdown measures caused significant changes to all aspects of life,” wrote the authors of the study, according to Ladders. “These findings demonstrate that significant changes in daily life have a significant impact on our experience of time, with younger, more socially satisfied people more likely to experience time as passing more quickly during lockdown.”
Ruth Ogden, the lead author, noted that people who were older and less socially active were more likely to experience slower passage of time during the course of a day or week, according to Science Daily. She added that perceived slower passage of time was associated with higher stress in these individuals.
She said: “80% of the people experienced distortion to the passage of time during the lockdown,” according to Science Daily. “Lockdown passing more slowly than normal was associated with older age and reduced satisfaction with social interactions.”
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