HOW SYMBOLIC MEANING INFLUENCES TIME PERCEPTION

  • G. Mioni
  • D. Zakay
  • F. Stablum

Abstract

The present study investigated how symbolic meaning affected time perception in school age children. Four groups took part at the study: Group 1 (n=16; mean age 4.88 yrs); Group 2 (n=13; mean age 6.38 yrs); Group 3 (n=16; mean age 7.31 yrs) and Group 4 (n=16; mean age=8.31 yrs). Participants were engaged in a time reproduction task. Stimuli employed could be static or moving vehicles (car and truck). The moving vehicles moved from one side to the other of the computer screen in 11 or 21 sec. Static stimuli were presented at the centre of the screen for the same durations as the moving stimuli. Significant differences between groups were found. Younger participants under-reproduced the duration more than did older participants. Effect of stimulus duration, vehicle and movement were also found. Particularly interesting is the interaction between vehicle and duration. When the movie lasted 21 sec, the car, that recalled the idea of fastness, was significantly under-reproduced compared with the truck, which recalled the idea of slowness. Younger children were more affected by the movement. The results suggested a meaning effect in temporal perception of school age children and that this effect was sensitive to age.

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