Virtual Reality Affects our Perception of Time: A Detailed Analysis

Time has always been an important part of our lives. However, humans perceive time differently and use it the way they want to. Defining time is difficult, but understanding time perception is easy. Time perception is a human being’s experience or awareness of the passage of time. So how has the perception changed, and how has technology affected our perception of time? Let’s take a look.

If you are a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might get interested to know how time works and if the events shown in the movies are possible in real life. To start with, time does not work the way it’s shown in movies. There’s no Doctor Strange or a time stone to help you relive your cherished memories or undo an awful mistake. Hence, instead of believing these fictional stories, let’s look into the impact of virtual reality on our perception of time.

Before we move on with the impact of virtual reality on time perception, let’s understand what virtual reality is. You might have come across pictures of people wearing a VR headset. What do they see through it? Virtual reality headsets have a computer-generated environment with scenes or objects that give you a feel and takes you to the place. Now, how does that affect time perception? Let’s analyse.

Virtual Reality and Time Perception: Analysing the Relation Between Them

As per a study, US Santa Cruz psychologists found an aftereffect of virtual reality games and termed it “time compression.” They said that in such cases, time passes faster than you think. Time perception gets heavily affected when you are in virtual reality. You tend to live the moment and feel you are in the place shown on the virtual headset.

A cognitive science undergraduate, Grayson Mullen collaborated with psychology professor Nicolas Davidenko to design an experiment to compare the effects of virtual reality on a gamer’s sense of time to those of conventional monitors. Mullen used a maze and recruited players to play the game virtually and in conventional formats.

The participants were instructed to stop playing once five minutes had passed. The study found that virtual reality gamers played 28.5% longer than the ones in traditional formats. If you can understand, there is a huge impact on time perception when it comes to virtual reality. People cannot keep track of time when they are in virtual reality.

Time is a complicated concept, and scientists are still working to decode various aspects of time. You will not understand time perception or how virtual reality affects it if you have not used it. Most of you have seen virtual reality in movies but are yet to experience it. So, before you move to gain a first-hand experience, learn about the advantages and disadvantages of virtual reality and how it will change the way you look at time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Reality

An important fact that came up in all movies involving time travel is “You mess with time; it tends to mess back.” Virtual reality places you in a fictional place where you might perceive time moving faster or slower than the real world. The experience might be good, but overusing the headgears will not be beneficial.

Virtual reality can make you addicted. Gamers using virtual reality headsets are prone to get addicted to VR. Unfortunately, it will not help and will have a major effect on time perception. As Grayson Mullen stated, “As virtual reality headsets get more comfortable to wear for longer periods, and as more immersive games are made for this format, I think it would be good to avoid having it become like a virtual casino, where you end up playing more because you don’t realise how much time you’re spending.


Here’s a look into the advantages and disadvantages of virtual reality:


Virtual reality creates a realistic world

It enables a user to explore places

You can experiment with an artificial environment using VR

It makes education comfortable and easy


Virtual reality is expensive

It is too addictive

It hampers time perception

You can’t move the way you do in the real world

Technology has helped solve many problems, but some aspects might be harmful. Time is a crucial element, and messing with it will not be good. It will hamper your daily lifestyle if you perceive time differently. Therefore, using virtual reality must be limited. You have to understand the benefits of using virtual reality and use it wisely.

To end with

Time and its elements have always been an interesting aspect. Many scientists are working on time travel, which might soon be a reality. But if your time perception gets hampered, everything will be impossible. The emergence of virtual reality has been beneficial in some cases, but using it too much will not be good.

About The Author: Steven Parker is a blogger, developer, and part-time tutor. Although he works at a reputed IT firm as a senior developer, he is also available at as an assignment helper through which he guides students in need of assistance on request.


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