Anybody who’s played the Civilization series knows that it’s possible to lose one’s sense of time while playing a game. In fact, games themselves are good at removing a sense of time by design. Level designers rely on the ability to mess with our perception of time. Heck, I’m not going to lie, I lost track of time playing a few casual games too. I digress, the point is that it’s easy to lose our temporal connection to the world around us thanks to games.

How we understand time is based on our time perception which can be altered in various ways and understood in others. Our understanding of time can be influenced by everything from how hungry we are to what language you speak.

This video is here so the block of text appears more welcoming. It’s the first music video that I saw when searching time on YouTube.

Things get more messed up when physicists look at time because some of them conclude that it all might be an illusion. How very zen.

A very interesting thing happens when we combine the social and the natural sciences, and this is evidenced in how we loose track of time while playing video games.

After analyzing the data, the researcher found that time perspective was indeed connected and related to how frequently someone plays video games. Specifically, that “larger amounts of playing time correlates with lower level of future time perspective and higher levels of present time perspective — especially present fatalistic.”

Present fatalistic is connected with dissatisfaction, aggression, and depression. We could hypothesize that people who spend significant time playing develop the present fatalistic orientation.

However, it is more likely that people who already are present fatalistic play more, because playing helps to decrease their negative feelings. This would support Yee’s suggestion that extensive playing is an indicator of mood management.

Source paper:

Lukavska, K.. (2011). Time Perspective as a Predictor of Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game Playing. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. doi:10.1089/cyber.2011.0171.