Bending time: The role of affective appraisal in time perception.

Affective states are known to distort time perception, but it remains unclear why and how they do so. To test whether appraisal processes involved in affect may play a role in temporal distortions, we investigated bisection behavior during experimental events with varying appraisal values along three dimensions: goal relevance (high vs. low), goal type (approach vs. avoid), and goal congruence (conducive vs. obstructive). Forty female participants performed an incentive-compatible gambling task attempting to accumulate wins and avoid losses of small amounts of chocolate. On each trial, a prechoice stimulus first announced whether a win, a loss, or no change was available. Participants then made a choice that ostensibly determined the outcome of the trial, which was communicated by a postchoice stimulus. Participants also made temporal bisection decisions indicating whether the presentation durations of pre- and postchoice stimuli (which varied between 200, 320, 440, 560, 680, and 800 ms) were closer to a previously learned short (200 ms) or long (800 ms) standard. We analyzed appraisal effects on psychometric bisection point, response speed, and drift diffusion parameter variance using custom regression contrasts. Subjective durations were found to be lengthened by high goal relevance, conducive goal congruence, and approach goal type. Analysis of diffusion parameters suggested that these results reflected appraisal-related shifts in duration perception rather than in subsequent decision-making. These findings encourage further research into the possibility that temporal distortions are among the cognitive changes triggered by appraisal processes during affective states. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)