Description: I am sure you have heard something of the debates going on as to whether we should be shifting our clocks forward in spring and backwards in fall each year. Part of the science discussed within that debate concerns the impact of the time change (especially the one in spring) on our circadian rhythms or the multitude of bodily and mental functions that are tied to our daily cycles: our circadian cycles. However, another big part of those debates concerns social rhythms or social time. We would adapt much better to losing an hour in the spring if we social life shifted forward by an hour at the same time (if school or work started at 10 am rather than 9 am, for example) but that would defeat the purpose of the daylight-saving time change. Well, think about this: COVID-19 has hugely impacted our social time. We have not had to leave our homes at regular times each day (if at all), meals have become unstuck from our previously usual comings and goings, and our usual daily routines and schedules are… well messed up. Some television morning programs are (a little bit seriously) providing public service of announcing what day it is each morning. Think about how your perception of time has wobbled or been odd over the past year and think a bit about why, specifically, that might be and then have a read through the article linked below for some psychological perspectives.
Source: How COVID-19 Has Altered Our Perception of Time, Joseph Mazur, Psychology Today.
Date: April 2, 2021
A big difference between daylight-saving time changes and the past year of COVID-19 has been that while we may or may not like our twice annual time shifts, we have experience with them, see them coming, and can name (blame) the effects they have on us clearly and directly. With COVID, we did not see the changes coming as their impacts unfolded slowly over time. COVID messed with our social contacts, social time, our social rhythms in ways we did not see coming. Managing within social time is difficult at the best of times (just search work-life balance if you want to see how difficult it can be) but when COVID social distancing protocols hit we were in new territory and we are still figuring out the multitude of ways this has impacted us. It is well worth thinking a bit about this as the shift back to “normal” will likely be just about as disorienting and our shift into COVID social reality was.
Questions for Discussion:
- Why do the time changes associated with daylight-savings mess us up?
- Why does the spring (forward) daylight-savings time change affect s more profoundly than the fall (back) daylight-savings time change?
- How has COVID messed up our time sense and our social time routines and how might “getting back to normal” also mess us up a bit?
References (Read Further):
Meck, W. H. (1996). Neuropharmacology of timing and time perception. Cognitive brain research, 3(3-4), 227-242. Link
Glicksohn, J., Berkovich-Ohana, A., Mauro, F., & Ben-Soussan, T. D. (2017). Time perception and the experience of time when immersed in an altered sensory environment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, 487. Link
Di Lernia, D., Serino, S., Pezzulo, G., Pedroli, E., Cipresso, P., & Riva, G. (2018). Feel the time. Time perception as a function of interoceptive processing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 74. Link
Üstün, S., Kale, E. H., & Çiçek, M. (2017). Neural networks for time perception and working memory. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 11, 83. Link
Davydenko, M., & Peetz, J. (2017). Time grows on trees: The effect of nature settings on time perception. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 54, 20-26. Link
Droit-Volet, S., Gil, S., Martinelli, N., Andant, N., Clinchamps, M., Parreira, L., … & Dutheil, F. (2020). Time and Covid-19 stress in the lockdown situation: Time free,«Dying» of boredom and sadness. PloS one, 15(8), e0236465. Link
Van Way III, C. W. (2020). The Curse of Time. Missouri medicine, 117(2), 105. Link
Roenneberg, T., Wirz-Justice, A., Skene, D. J., Ancoli-Israel, S., Wright, K. P., Dijk, D. J., … & Klerman, E. B. (2019). Why should we abolish daylight saving time?. Journal of biological rhythms, 34(3), 227-230. Link