Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Time perception is a well-studied phenomenon; however, subjective experience of time and its relationship to affective states has received comparatively less attention in the literature (Grondin, 2010). Recently, it was suggested that anticipatory anxiety may also lead to an overestimation effect regarding angry faces in socially anxious individuals (Jusyte et al., 2014). In the present study, participants completed two temporal bisection tasks (TBT) in which they were asked to categorize a stimulus as being of short or long duration. Between the tasks, participants were to present a speech that served to provoke anxiety. In the present study, I aimed to provide a conceptual replication and extension of previous findings by investigating temporal overestimation before and after the stressful event. I expected that individuals in the anticipatory anxiety manipulation condition (AAM) would overestimate stimulus durations relative to individuals in the no anticipatory anxiety manipulation condition (NAM) on the first TBT, but that this group difference would not be apparent on the second TBT. We also predicted that time overestimation would be significantly related to levels of anticipatory and trait anxiety.

Participants were 85 university students who were randomized into one of two conditions: the AAM condition or the NAM condition. Both groups performed the TBT, but the AAM group was repeatedly reminded that they would perform a speech after the TBT whereas the NAM group received no reminders.

The final sample for analysis consisted of 76 participants who completed all parts of the experiment and who did not differ by race, ethnicity, age, gender, trait anxiety, or baseline state anxiety (all ps > .11). The AAM group significantly overestimated time relative to the NAM group, p = .030, on the first TBT but not the second, p = .332. The anticipatory anxiety manipulation was inconclusive. Although there was a group by time interaction for negative affect, p = .017, there were no main effects of group or group by time interactions for the measure of anxiety, p > .426. Contrary to hypotheses, participants who were higher on trait social anxiety or more fearful of negative evaluation underestimated stimulus durations on the first TBT; however, only higher fear of negative evaluation explained performance on the second TBT.

The results of this study suggest a possible interaction between attention and arousal mechanisms modifying time estimation. Implications for the study of time estimation in relation to anticipatory anxiety fears are discussed.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Thomas L. Rodebaugh

Committee Members

Ryan Bogdan, Jeffrey Zacks


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