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Telescoping effect

The Telescoping Effect, first named in 1964, refers to the tendency that many people have for mis-judging the time at which events have happened. In general, recent events are judged as being more remote than they were, and distant events as being more recent than they were.

A 2006 study, published in the journal Memory & Cognition ( 34 (1), pp. 138-147) found that :

[…] very recent news events, those within the last 100 days, were hardly displaced; people on average made almost no errors in dating these events. Recent news events, which had occurred between 100 and 1,000 days earlier, were displaced backward in time; that is, people thought these events had occurred longer ago than they actually had. However, news events that had occurred around 3 years earlier were, on average, hardly displaced once again. […] Remote news events, which had occurred more than 1,000 days earlier, were displaced forward in time, so people thought those events had occurred more recently than they actually had."

Source : Memory for time: How people date events open accessMemory & Cognition, 34 (1), 138-147.

There is currently no agreed-upon explanation for the effect, although there are at least six proposed models - see Wikipedia


Also see :Time Awarenessplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigTime Awareness

"Anticipating events that will happen in the future is among the most important functions the brain performs. Indeed, it has been increasingly stressed that learning and memory are prospective brain functions; that is, they are only adaptive to the extent that they help animals anticipate and prepare for the future (Dudai and Carruthers, 2005; Schacter and Addis, 2007). To anticipate when events will happen, the brain has evolved mechanisms to tell time across a wide range of te…


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