Temporary mood state, self-awareness, and time perception
Hawkins, Wendy L.
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A study was designed to examine the distinct effects of mood state and self-awareness on the perception of time. Two main hypotheses were tested. The first hypothesis was that mood state and self-awareness would interact to reveal that high self-awareness increases estimates of time passage for participants in negative mood states and decreases estimates for subjects in positive mood states, compared to low self-awareness. The second hypothesis was that high self-awareness would increase all time estimates. Additionally, it was expected that positive mood states would result in decreased time estimates and negative mood states would produce increased time estimates. These hypotheses were tested using a 3 (Positive vs. Neutral vs. Negative Mood State) X 2 (4 rain vs. 13 min Time Period) X 2 (High vs. Low Self-Awareness) factorial design. Subjects listened to positive, negative, or neutral mood inducing music, and were then given instructions for a card-sorting task that were designed to induce either high or low self-awareness. Subjects then performed the card sorting task for one of the target time periods and subsequently estimated how much time had passed. A manipulation check indicated that the mood manipulation was not effective. It was also found that subjects in the 13 min time period judged this period to be significantly longer than did individuals in the 4 min time period. Counter to one of the hypotheses, results indicated that the high self-awareness manipulation decreased time estimates. It is possible that this effect was due to distraction. Participants in the high self-awareness condition focused on themselves doing the card sorting task, a comparatively more interesting and distracting task than focusing on the card-sorting task alone, engaged in by the low self-awareness participants. Additionally, it should be noted that because the mood manipulation was apparently not effective, a fair test of the hypotheses was not possible.