Experiencing Time: Exploring Time Perception Dilation


  • Bálint Gusztáv Mosóczi University of Vienna


During my talk, I will present my research into the fascinating world of time perception dilation. My aim is to uncover the underlying phenomena responsible for the stretches and contractions of time that people experience in their conscious minds. Time perception is a fundamental aspect of human life, yet its mechanisms and variations across individuals, cultures, and situations remain largely unknown or when they are known there is not enough metascientific research done to stitch their findings together. This interdisciplinary study explores the psychological, philosophical, and neurological bases of time perception dilation.

Three main questions drive my investigation. Firstly, I seek to understand the current view of how we experience time. How much do we know about the neural architecture that shapes our daily and long-term experiences, and what are the mainstream theories in time perception research today? Secondly, I aim to identify the components that influence the perceived duration of time. Why does time seem to stop when we are bored, yet fly by during enjoyable activities? Why do different people perceive the same experience in vastly different timeframes? Lastly, I want to explore how the philosophical discourse on time and time experience has evolved over the past century, particularly in light of empirical research.

By reviewing psychological experiments [1], neuroscientific studies [2], and philosophical accounts [3], the work I will be presenting aims to bridge the gap between continental philosophical tradition and modern empirical science, providing a multifaceted analysis of how conscious beings perceive the passage of time under various circumstances. Key concepts include the roles of emotional states, attentional processes, and external stimuli in affecting time perception and its dilation.

Additionally, I will examine how altered time perception impacts daily routines, thoughts, and decision-making. By reviewing written accounts of lived experiences and stories, my goal is to highlight the main factors influencing our perception of time and demonstrate why understanding these dynamics matters. This understanding is crucial for activities such as extreme sports, art viewing, meditation, listening to music, and virtual reality environments.


[1] Stojić, V. Topić, and Z. Nádasdy, “Children and adults rely on different heuristics for estimation of durations,” Scientific Reports, vol. 13, no. 1, Jan. 2023, doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-27419-4.

[2]  M. Wittmann, “The inner sense of time: how the brain creates a representation of duration,” Nature Reviews Neuroscience, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 217–223, Feb. 2013, doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3452.

[3] M. Heidegger, Being and time. Newcomb Livraria Press, 1962.