Time Flies When You’re Having Goal-Motivated Fun
Though the seconds may tick by on the clock at a regular pace, our experience of the ‘fourth dimension’ is anything but uniform. When we’re waiting in line or sitting in a boring meeting, time seems to slow down to a trickle. And when we get caught up in something completely engrossing – a gripping thriller, for example – we may lose sense of time altogether.
But what about the idea that time flies when we’re having fun? New research from psychological science suggests that the familiar adage may really be true, with a caveat: time flies when we’re have goal-motivated fun.
Existing research demonstrates that experiencing positive feelings or states makes us feel like time is passing faster than negative feelings and states do. But, as some researchers observe, not all positive states are created equal. Sometimes we experience feelings of contentment or serenity. These feelings are certainly positive ones, but they aren’t very high in what researchers call ‘approach motivation’ – they don’t make us want to go out and pursue or achieve something. Feelings of desire or excitement,