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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2003 Dec;132(4):543-50.

Routine and the perception of time.

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School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.


The authors investigated the influence of routine on people's estimation of time, testing the hypothesis that duration is remembered as being shorter when time is spent in a routine activity. In 4 experiments and 2 field studies, the authors compared time estimations in routine and nonroutine conditions. Routine was established by a sequence of markers (Study 1), variation of the task (Studies 2 and 3), or the number of repetitive blocks (Study 4). As hypothesized, the duration of the task was remembered as being shorter in routine conditions than in nonroutine ones. This trend was reversed in experienced (prospective) judgments when participants were informed beforehand of the duration-judgment task (Study 3). In Studies 5 and 6, the authors examined remembered duration judgments of vacationers and kibbutz members, which provided further support for the main hypothesis.

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