Nav: Home

Why we underestimate time when we're having fun on Facebook

February 07, 2017

Updating your Facebook status can be a fun way to while away the hours - but now it seems it really is making us lose track of time as we do it.

New research from psychologists at the University of Kent suggests that people who are using Facebook or surfing the web suffer impaired perception of time.

Researchers from the University's School of Psychology found that the way people perceived time varied according to whether their internet use was specifically Facebook related or more general.

Using well-established internal clock models, researchers attempted to separate the roles of 'attention' and 'arousal' as drivers for time distortion. The researchers found that Facebook-related stimuli can lead to an underestimate of time compared to general internet use, but that both lead to a distortion of time.

In the study, Lazaros Gonidis and Dr Dinkar Sharma, monitored the responses of 44 people who were shown 20 images for varying amounts of time. Five of the images were associated with Facebook, five had more general internet associations with another ten as neutral 'control' images.

Those taking part had to say whether the image they had just seen had been visible for a short or long time.

The key finding was that people tended to underestimate the time they had been looking at Facebook-related images to a greater extent than other more general internet related images, but that in both cases time was underestimated. This suggests that Facebook-related images affect time by changing how we pay attention to them. The findings are likely to have implications for future study into addictive behaviour.

The study, entitled Internet and Facebook Related Images Affect the Perception of Time, is published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jasp.12429/abstract
-end-
For interview requests, contact Martin Herrema at the University of Kent Press Office. Tel: 01227 823581/01634 888879 Email: M.J.Herrema@kent.ac.uk

News releases can also be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

University of Kent on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UniKent

Notes to editor

Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

It has been ranked: 23rd in the Guardian University Guide 2016; 23rd in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2016; and 22nd in the Complete University Guide 2015.

In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, Kent is in the top 10% of the world's leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its 'Table of Tables' 2016.

Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.

In the National Student Survey 2016, Kent achieved the fourth highest score for overall student satisfaction, out of all publicly funded, multi-faculty universities.

Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium (http://www.kent.ac.uk/about/partnerships/eastern-arc.html).

The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.

In 2014, Kent received its second Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

University of Kent

Related Perception Articles:

Algorithms can exploit human perception in graph design
Researchers have recently found an algorithmic approach to automatically improve the design of scatterplots by exploiting models and measures of human perception.
College students' perception of dietary terms could help nutrition education
Researchers from the University of Hawaii and Brigham Young University set out to determine college students' perception of the terms real meal, meal, and snack and how those perceptions might enable more effective nutrition education.
LSD alters perception via serotonin receptors
Researchers from UZH have discovered how the perception of meaning changes in the brain under the influence of LSD.
Did teen perception, use of marijuana change after recreational use legalized?
Marijuana use increased and the drug's perceived harmfulness decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington after marijuana was legalized for recreational use by adults but there was no change among 12th-graders or among students in the three grades in Colorado after legalization for adults there, according to a new study published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
Hearing with your eyes -- a Western style of speech perception
Which parts of a person's face do you look at when you listen them speak?
Linking perception to action
A neuroscientist maps brain cell activity that occurs during the delay between sensation and action.
Research shows how visual perception slows with age
When older adults tell stories, they often go off on tangents because they have trouble inhibiting other thoughts.
Can we extend healthspan by altering the perception of food?
Researchers have shown a new effect on aging via a small drug-like molecule that alters the perception of food in C. elegans.
Exploring gender perception via speech
Snap judgments of speakers' femininity or masculinity are based on acoustic information from the speakers' voices, but some vocal qualities deemed 'feminine' can overlap with acoustic cues for 'clear speech,' which is a set of changes speakers make when they suspect their listener is having difficulty hearing.
The invisible world of human perception
Perception experts have long known that we see less of the world than we think we do.

Related Perception Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#518 With Genetic Knowledge Comes the Need for Counselling
This week we delve into genetic testing - for yourself and your future children. We speak with Jane Tiller, lawyer and genetic counsellor, about genetic tests that are available to the public, and what to do with the results of these tests. And we talk with Noam Shomron, associate professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, about technological advancements his lab has made in the genetic testing of fetuses.