Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Why every day feels like 'Groundhog Day' and other tricks the pandemic has played on our sense of time

Happy Groundhog Day! The master of ceremonies at this morning's ceremony at Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania remarked that people all around the world have said the past year felt like "Groundhog Day" with the same day repeating itself over and over. That inspired me to examine the science of why people's perception of time has been distorted that way.* I begin with WDIV in Detroit asking Has the [perception] of time changed due to COVID-19? Study show it's possible.

A study shows the COVID-19 pandemic may change people's [perception] of time based on certain factors.
So, yes, it happens and this clip describes who is most likely to experience it, but it's a little weak on why. For that, watch WUSA9 ask How is COVID-19 affecting our perception of time?

March was so long ago and April barely lasted a week. Professor Peter Tse talks about how our perception of time has changed because of the pandemic.
The sped-up montage by itself does a good job of depicting the sameness of days during the COVID-19 pandemic, while Professor Peter Tse's explanation is good as far as it goes. PBS Digital's It's Okay To Be Smart goes farther and explains more in Why Time Moves Fast...and Slow.

Time passes for all of at the [same] rate of one second per second. But why does it sometimes feel like time is passing so fast, or so slowly? Especially during COVID? Let’s learn about how our brains keep track of and try to make sense of time, and how they get fooled.
That's enough science about how people perceive time for now. May it have made my readers understand why they feel the way they do about the passage of time and that they're not alone.

*USA Today included those remarks in 135th Groundhog Day celebration from 3:00 to 4:00.

Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? Watch Groundhog Day live from Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania.
Yes, there's hope; the cycle will be broken and the monotony will end.

All the above makes Punxsutawney Phil's prediction that there will be six more weeks of winter, a forecast echoed by Michigan's own Woody the Woodchuck, secondary. Stay warm and stay safe, everyone!

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