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The Retrospective and Present Judgment of the Passage of Time in the Elderly

In: Timing & Time Perception
Authors:
Sylvie Droit-Volet Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, LAPSCO, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France

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Natalia Martinelli Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, LAPSCO, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France

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Michaël Dambrun Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, LAPSCO, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France

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Guillaume T. Vallet Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, LAPSCO, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France

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Fanny Lorandi Nursing home, EHPAD, F-03300 Cusset, France

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Abstract

This study examined the judgment of the passage of time in elderly people living in retirement homes, focusing on the passage of time experienced in the present and that judged retrospectively for short periods (last day, week, month) and longer periods of life (last year, now compared with five years ago, as we get older). Participants’ cognitive abilities and feelings of happiness were also assessed among other dimensions. Results showed no significant relationship between these three forms of judgment of the passage of time, except between the judgment of the passage of time for the present and for the day. In addition, the level of happiness was a significant predictor of both the momentary judgment of the passage of time and the retrospective judgment of the passage of time for shorter periods. In contrast, the individual differences in cognitive abilities better explained differences in the retrospective judgment of the passage of time for longer periods. As discussed, the different forms of judgment of the passage of time are therefore based on different cognitive mechanisms.

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