Monday, July 8, 2013

Why people feel older than they are

As always at the beginning of the week, this blog presents something in a lighter vein. However, this week we depart from phylogenetic networks entirely, and delve into the general life of people, instead.

The passage of time is a curious thing, which varies not only with the speed of the observer but also with the age of the observer. Albert Einstein has written about the former phenomenon, and I once wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about the latter one, which I present here.

It turns out, according to my analysis, that your perception of time varies in a precisely quantifiable way depending on your age. The only times that you feel as young as you actually are are at ages 0 and 73 years; in between, you feel older than you are.

This article appeared in 1991 in the Australian Biologist 4: 187-190, a journal published by the Australian Institute of Biology. I specifically wrote about biologists, but the analysis applies to all humans. Sadly, this journal has no web page, and little has been heard about it since volume 17 (2004).

Since printed copies of the journal are held by only a few libraries in Australia, presumably no-one has read this article since 1991. Nevertheless, you should read it, and so I have linked to a PDF copy [1.8 MB] of the paper:
Why biologists feel older than they are

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