Many people while away hours and have lots of fun updating their Facebook status and looking at all the new posts. It seems that we really lose track of time as we do it. Psychologists at the University of Kent have now conducted new research that suggests that people suffer impaired perception of time when they are using Facebook, or surfing the web.
The University’s School of Psychology study found that people perceived time in different ways depending on whether they specifically used Facebook, or if their internet use was more general.
The researchers attempted to separate the roles of ‘arousal’ and ‘attention’ as drivers for time distortion by using well-established internal clock models. They found that although stimuli related to Facebook could lead to people underestimating time more compared to general internet use, both lead to an alteration of time.
Dr Dinkar Sharma and Lazaros Gonidis monitored the responses of 44 people in the study. The participants were shown 20 images for varying amounts of time. Five of the images were related to Facebook, five had a more general internet connotations and the other ten images were used as neutral control images. The participants were then asked if the image they had just seen had been visible for a long or short time.
The key result was that people were inclined to underestimate the time they had been watching Facebook related images more than other, more general internet related images. In both cases however, time was underestimated. This indicates that Facebook related images affect time by altering how we pay attention to them. The findings will probably affect future studies into addictive behavior.