The Effects of Emotional States and Traits on Time Perception

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Katie A. Lehockey (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
D. Erik Everhart

Abstract: Background: Leading models of time perception share an important element of Scalar Expectancy Theory known as the internal clock containing specific mechanisms by which the human mind is able to experience time passing and thus to function effectively within society. A major debate exists in the literature about whether to treat factors that influence these internal clock mechanisms (e.g. emotion personality executive functions such as inhibition and related neurophysiological components) as arousal- or attentional-based factors. Purpose: The present study investigated behavioral and neurophysiological responses to an affective Go/NoGo task taking into account personality correlates related to Behavioral Inhibition and Behavioral Activation Systems which are major components of Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory. Methods: After completion of self-report inventories assessing personality traits electroencephalogram (EEG) and behavioral recordings of 32 women and 13 men recruited from introductory psychology classes were made during an affective Go/NoGo task. The task consisted of three phases: 1. A learning phase during which the participants were exposed to a neutral visual standard duration ten times. 2. A practice phase during which the participants practiced responding and inhibiting to "Go" and "NoGo" neutral visual stimuli of varying durations respectively. For "Go" stimuli participants' responses were based on their subsequent comparisons of the presented stimuli to the standard via button press (i.e. left button press means "shorter than standard duration" right button press means "longer than standard duration"). 3. A test phase during which participants responded in the same manner as the practice phase but "Go" and "NoGo" stimuli were defined according to positive and negative valence. Results: Findings indicated that higher BAS scores (especially BAS Drive) were associated with overestimation bias scores for both negative and positive stimuli presentation while BIS scores were not significantly correlated with overestimation bias scores. N2 amplitudes were greater in response to "NoGo" stimuli than in response to "Go" stimuli. Furthermore higher BIS Total scores were associated with higher N2d amplitudes during positive stimulus presentation for 280ms while higher BAS Total scores were associated with higher N2d amplitudes during negative stimuli presentation for 910ms. BAS Drive scores were consistently and strongly correlated with greater relative left hemisphere asymmetry. Discussion: Findings are discussed in terms of arousal-based models of time perception and suggestions for future research are considered. 

Additional Information

Date: 2012
Psychology, Cognitive psychology, Electrophysiology, Emotion, Individual Differences, Inhibition, Time Perception
Time perception--Experiments

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