Facebook ‘makes people lose track of time’

Do you frequently lose track of time whilst using Facebook?
Do you frequently lose track of time whilst using Facebook?

Updating your Facebook status or surfing the web can make us lose track of time, according to new research.

Psychologists found that internet fanatics suffer from an impaired sense of time, with people's perceived time varying most according to how much they use Facebook specifically.

They found that Facebook can lead users to underestimate time compared to general internet use, but that both lead to the distortion of time.

Using well-established internal clock models, researchers from the University of Kent attempted to separate the roles of 'attention' and 'arousal' as drivers for time distortion.

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, they monitored 44 people who were shown 20 images for varying amounts of time.

Five images were associated with Facebook, five had more general internet associations, and the other ten were neutral control images.

Participants were asked to say whether the image they had seen was visible for a short or long time.

In both sets of images the time was underestimated, but more so in the Facebook shots specifically.

Researchers believe the Facebook images affect our sense of time by changing how we pay attention to them, and the findings are likely to have implications for further study into addictive behaviour.