Slow-motion or time lapse: the Corona-pandemic brings the internal clock messed up

More than 100 years ago, Albert Einstein turned physics on its head, as he exposed the until then, as a constant looked at time as a relative size.

Although measured objectively, time flies just not everywhere and for everyone the same. But the difference is so small that it falls on the earth is negligible.

Time is not only a research object in the physics, but also in psychology, because she has a lot to do with our perception.

Here, too, time passes, at least apparently, a different speed – significantly.

As from a in the journal ‘PLOS ONE’ published study shows that many people have the passage of time during the first Corona-wave perceived differently than usual.

A Team led by Ruth Ogden of the John Moores University in Liverpool, interviewed around 600 people in the UK between the 7. and 30. April in an Online survey about perception of time, state of mind and personal circumstances.

The contact restrictions are offered according to the authors a rare opportunity to study how disturbances of everyday life have an impact on the perception of time.

Corona makes the time race or a slower offense

More than 80 percent of the respondents said that the time of the contact constraints is either faster or slower passed than usual.

Who are the time was older and unhappy with the measure of his social contacts, for the passed is often slower. Who was younger and happier, felt more of an acceleration of events.

This was true both for individual days and entire weeks.

Interestingly, this result is mainly because previous studies show that older people perceive a period of ten years, in retrospect, usually considered to be shorter than younger people.

Also commonly, the phenomenon is well-known that with increasing age, the years seemingly getting faster and faster passes.

The psychology Professor Helmut Prior of Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, sees no contradiction. Who contact restrictions, had in the time of the Corona-related little eventful life, I have seen individual days may be as agonizingly long, Prior.

Later, in retrospect, could be the different. “If those for whom the went on for many weeks, look back, you have almost the feeling that there was no time at all,” said the self does not participate in the study, scientists involved.

The reason for this is that time is perceived, in hindsight, often about events. “There have been relatively few events that have the structured.”

The subjects are now more older people who are already in retirement. Added to this may be that older people hide more inclined to the belief that negative memories.

For people who were challenged in the crisis stronger than before, for example, parents and Employees in the system of the relevant Professions, had passed the time in the current Sense of apparently faster.

But in retrospect, it could feel for you as it had been almost years said Prior.

A limitation for the validity of their study, the authors see in the fact that alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic.

How a glass affects the perception of time, is not yet clarified.


  • Ogden, R. (2020): The passage of time during the UK Covid-19 lockdown, retrieved on 14.07.2020:

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)

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