Isaac can’t wait. Today is Christmas Eve, which means that tonight Santa Claus will come down the chimney and ‘drink some of that special wine that he likes’.
Five-year-olds (the youngest children tested so far) tend to claim that sounds shorter than half a second are Barney’s sound: that is, children remember the tone as being shorter than it was in reality. It is as though their own internal clocks are running too fast, causing them to judge that time is passing more quickly than it really is. Those children who pester their parents with pleas of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ may simply have speeded-up body clocks. Appealing to concrete intervals measured in conventional units of time (‘We’ll be there in half an hour’) is no solution, since a five-year-old’s half an hour is quite a bit shorter than that of the person behind the wheel.
For as a general rule, the shorter the interval is that separates us from our planned objective, the longer it seems to us, because we apply to it a more minute scale of measurement, or simply because it occurs to us to measure it at all.