Subjective acceleration of time experience in everyday life across adulthood

John D, Lang F (2015)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2015


Publisher: American Psychological Association

Book Volume: 51

Pages Range: 1824–1839

Journal Issue: 12

DOI: 10.1037/dev0000059


Most people believe that time seems to pass more quickly as they age. Building on assumptions of socioemotional selectivity theory, we investigated whether awareness that one’s future lifetime is limited is associated with one’s experience of time during everyday activities across adulthood in 3 studies. In the first 2 studies (Study 1: N 608; Study 2: N 398), participants completed a web-based version of the day reconstruction method. In Study 3 (N 392) participants took part in a newly developed tomorrow construction method, a web-based experimental method for assessing everyday life plans. Results confirmed that older adults’ subjective interpretation of everyday episodes is that these episodes pass more quickly compared with younger adults. The subjective acceleration of time experience in old age was more pronounced during productive activities than during regenerative-consumptive activities. The age differences were partly related to limited time remaining in life. In addition, subjective acceleration of time experience was associated with positive evaluations of everyday activities. Findings suggest that subjective acceleration of time in older adults’ daily lives reflects an adaptation to limitations in time remaining in life.

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How to cite


John, D., & Lang, F. (2015). Subjective acceleration of time experience in everyday life across adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 51(12), 1824–1839.


John, Dennis, and Frieder Lang. "Subjective acceleration of time experience in everyday life across adulthood." Developmental Psychology 51.12 (2015): 1824–1839.

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