Social Crowding: Why Time Slows Down On A Crowded Train?

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Social Crowding Why Time Slows Down

Psychology News

A team of researchers at Cornell University revealed how social crowding influences our perception of time. The study is published in the journal Virtual Reality.

The Study

The researchers recruited more than 40 study participants to test time perception in an immersive and realistic environment. They were asked to take five simulated New York City subway trips with a randomly assigned duration of 60, 70, or 80 seconds—each with varying crowding levels.

After each trip, the study participants were asked to rate the pleasantness or unpleasantness of the respective trips on a scale of 1 to 7. They were also asked to accurately estimate how long each trip took.

The Findings

The results revealed that social context and subjective feelings distort our sense of the passage of time. Especially for people undergoing crowded trips, particularly during rush-hour commutes on public transit, time seems to slow down.

One of the lead authors, Saeedeh Sadeghi, elaborated: “[The study provides] a new way of thinking about social crowding, showing that it changes how we perceive time. Crowding creates stressful feelings, and that makes a trip feel longer.

To Know More You May Refer To

Sadeghi, S., Daziano, R., Yoon, S. Y., & Anderson, A. K. (2022). Affective experience in a virtual crowd regulates perceived travel time. Virtual reality, 1–11. Advance online publication.

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