Proportional theory makes intuitive sense if we consider how a year in the lifespan of someone who is 75 years old may feel much quicker, for instance, in comparison to a year in the life of a ten-year-old. But it cannot fully explain our experience of present time as we can move from hour to hour and day to day independently of the past.
Memory may hold the key to time perception, as the clarity of our memories is believed to mould our experience of time. We mentally reflect on our past and use historic events to achieve a sense of our self existing across time.
As the most vividly remembered experiences tend to occur in our formative years, that is, between the ages of 15 and 25, this decade is associated with an increase in self-defining memories, known as the “reminiscence bump”. This memory cluster may help explain why time speeds up with age, as older people move further away from this critical period in their lives.
Muireann Irish e Claire O'Callaghan