Some researchers speculate that during novel situations, time feels slower because the brain pays more attention. To assess this, in 2004, Dartmouth College neuroscientist Peter Tse performed a computer-based experiment in which a repetitive image flashed on the screen followed by a unique one. All of the images were shown for the same duration of time, but participants mistakenly believed that the unique image appeared on the screen for longer. Neuroscientists refer to this as the “oddball effect,” which occurs when the brain pays less attention to the mundane and more attention to novel stimuli.
Interesting, although it does nothing to explain why my kids always wake up before 7am no matter what time they go to bed. ((I don’t need to sleep past 7am, but I’d sure appreciate the option of sleeping in.))