New study at NTU explores 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 (NTU).

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.