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How is lockdown changing the way we relate to time? New study to explore the impact of social and physical distancing on time perception

The impact of social distancing and isolation on people’s perceptions of time is being explored in a new worldwide study, led in the UK by Nottingham Trent University.

woman looking out of window
Lockdown is a unique opportunity to measure the impact of isolation on time perception

The study will measure how an individual’s ability to perceive and process time has been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Researchers in countries across the globe, including India, the USA, Japan, Canada Germany, France, Spain and Italy, are looking to question 1,000 participants each.

In the weeks and months to come, volunteers will be asked to answer questionnaires and perform experimental psychology tasks online. They will be tested several times during the confinement period, then at least 10 days, and at least 3 months afterwards.

Darren Rhodes, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at NTU’s School of Social Sciences, said: “This has never been done before, so it is a unique moment in time to see exactly how people experience time in isolation.

“We expect to find that people in different types of situation might experience time quicker or slower dependent upon things like children, how active the day is, how well do they sleep, individual circadian phases, attentional style, and self-perceptions for example.”

The data collected in the UK will form part of a global narrative on the experience of time during these exceptional circumstances. Anyone interested in taking part in the study can sign up online at  or email Darren Rhodes for further information.

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

Published on 28 April 2020
  • Category: Press office; School of Social Sciences