16. Time Is Relative

Has this ever happened to you? You’re traveling 2 hours to visit friends. It’s 2 hours to get there and 2 hours to get back, but the trip there feels much longer.

In his interesting book The Time Paradox, Philip Zimbardo discusses how our experience of time is relative, not absolute. There are time illusions, just like there are visual illusions. Zimbardo reports on research that shows that the more mental processing you do, the more time you think has elapsed. This is related to the concept of progressive disclosure, discussed earlier in this chapter. If people have to stop and think at each step of a task, they’ll feel that the task is taking too long. The mental processing makes the amount of time seem longer.

If your ...

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