The principle here is sort of like “Time flies when you’re having fun,” but simpler. The basic notion, says MIT researcher Richard Larson, is that time goes by if you are doing something — anything — that occupies you; even if that something is stabbing your finger onto plastic bubbles. “Occupied time” just feels shorter than “unoccupied time.” People doing nothing in a line typically overestimate their wait by about 36 percent. Presumably, these Milanese bus passengers will now wait much more happily.



Need something to do right now? Pop some virtual bubble wrap.

The principle here is sort of like “Time flies when you’re having fun,” but simpler. The basic notion, says MIT researcher Richard Larson, is that time goes by if you are doing something — anything — that occupies you; even if that something is stabbing your finger onto plastic bubbles. “Occupied time” just feels shorter than “unoccupied time.” People doing nothing in a line typically overestimate their wait by about 36 percent. Presumably, these Milanese bus passengers will now wait much more happily.

Need something to do right now? Pop some virtual bubble wrap.

Notes

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