[eli5] Why does time seem to pass so much more quickly when I’m gaming?

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[eli5] Why does time seem to pass so much more quickly when I’m gaming?

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There is a term in positive psychology called Flow. Essentially when you engage in activity that is challenging enough to meet your level of skill you enter a state called “Flow”. When in this state you experience total absorbtion in the task you are performing which alters the way you experience time passing.

I’m not sure if it is still the common belief but when I was in school we were taught that the brain only has so much bandwidth. This is used for vision, hearing, smell, thinking, etc. When nothing is going on your brain doesn’t use much bandwidth on senses so it can use more for braining, and thus it seems like time is passing slower. I’m not explaining it well but if you know computers, it’s like a video card running at 120 FPS when the screen doesn’t have a lot of sprites. When you are having fun you devote more brain bandwidth to your senses so you can’t run them at the same rate – video card dropping to 30 FPS when the screen has a lot going on. The difference is that your brain tries to make time consistent. So it assumes a second takes 120 frames, even when lagging. So your brain is running at 30 FPS, it will take 4 seconds to add up to 120 frames. So your brain thinks 1 second passed when 4 actually passed.