Does expertise make the world slow down?

Experts often appear to perceive time differently from novices. The current study thus examined perceptions of time as a function of domain expertise. Specifically, individuals with high or low levels of knowledge of American football made judgements of duration for briefly presented words that were unrelated to football (e.g., rooster), football specific (e.g., touchdown), or ambiguous (e.g., huddle). Results showed that high-knowledge individuals judged football-specific words as having been presented for a longer duration than unrelated or ambiguous words. In contrast, low-knowledge participants exhibited no systematic differences in judgements of duration based on the type of word presented. These findings are discussed within a fluency attribution framework, which suggests that experts’ fluent perception of domain-relevant stimuli leads to the subjective impression that time slows down in one’s domain of expertise.

Source: “Expertise makes the world slow down: Judgements of duration are influenced by domain knowledge” from The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 62, Issue 12 December 2009 , pages 2313 – 2319

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