Research now explains the good times
Ever wondered why time sometimes seems to fly, and sometimes drags on endlessly? There are times when even with positive feelings of contentment or serenity, time might hang heavy -- and psychologists have been trying to seek answers to this very riddle.
Psychological scientists Philip Gable and Bryan Pool of the University of Alabama hypothesized that it is specifically those states that are high in 'approach motivation' that make us feel like time passes quickly. They tested this hypothesis in three experiments, according to an Alabama statement.
There are some positive feelings that come with what the researchers term 'approach motivation' - they make us want to go out and pursue or achieve something, the journal Psychological Science reports; these are the feelings that make us think that time has flown.
Feelings of desire or excitement, unlike serenity or contentment, motivate us to go forth and conquer.
"Although we tend to believe that time flies when we're having a good time, these studies indicate what it is about the enjoyable time that causes it to go by more quickly," says Gable.
"It seems to be the goal pursuit or achievement-directed action we're engaged in that matters. Just being content or satisfied may not make time fly, but being excited or actively pursuing a desired object can," adds Gable.