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Paul Janet and Changes in the Apparent Speed of Passage of Time with Aging

In: Timing & Time Perception
Author:
John H. WeardenSchool of Psychology, Keele University, Keele, ST5 5BG, UK

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Abstract

This article presents a translation into English of most of a publication by the French philosopher Paul Janet, which appeared in 1877 (Janet, P.,. Une illusion d’optique interne. Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger, 3, 497–502). Here, it is proposed that the rate of passage of subjective time is proportional to the age of the person making the judgement. Janet further proposes that this proportionality will be most marked when judging time intervals remote from the present, such as past years or decades. He also suggests that the ‘acceleration’ of apparent passage of time with age can appear to reverse when old people consider the length of time that they believe to be left in their lives. A short commentary discusses how results from modern research on apparent passage of time and age can be linked to Janet’s proposal.

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