Time is on my side...or is it?
: do our subjective experiences of time perspective and representations of time influence emotions and goal achievement?

  • Jillian Richmond

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Time is objectively measurable, but is subjectively understood within our own time perspective (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999) and representations of time (Margolies & Crawford, 2008; McGlone & Harding, 1998). The present thesis is in two parts. Part 1 explored how our perceptions and representations of time may influence our emotions. Study 1 sought to validate a measure of two time representations (ego-moving and time-moving) and found that people think about time in a metaphor-consistent manner across clock, calendar, and spatial questions (N=94). Study 2 (N=128) found that those choosing an ego-moving representation were more likely to see themselves approaching events, reported higher levels of personal agency and scored higher in the Future time perspective. Those who choose a time-moving representation saw the event as approaching them, had significantly lower scores on personal agency and scored highly on Present Fatalism. Study 3 (N=199) found that those who reported an ego-moving representation were significantly happier, whereas those reporting a time-moving representation were significantly more anxious and depressed. Study 4 (N=232) found that when happiness is induced, participants report significantly more ego-moving representations, whereas when anxiety or sadness are induced, participants report significantly more time-moving representations. Study 5 (N=106) found that when ego-moving representations were induced, participants reported significantly higher happiness scores, whereas when time-moving was induced participants report significantly higher anxiety and sadness/depression. Part 2 explored one aspect of ego-moving representations of time, that of goal-getting and perceptions of time morem closely. In study 6 (N=139), time perspective was explored in relation to non-achievement of goals. Findings suggest those high in Present Fatalism procrastinate significantly more frequently and often only form the intention towards achieving their goals, and were significantly more upset at past failures. Fatalists also tended not to use cognitive reappraisal strategies to enable them to think differently about how to achieve their goal in future attempts. Those high in the Future time perspective were less likely to procrastinate, less upset at non-attainment of goals, and did tend to use cognitive reappraisal. Study 7 (N=162) examined time perspective, self-efficacy, and goal achievement. For those who achieved their goal within 7 days, the Past Positive and Future time perspectives positively predicted self-efficacy, whereas Present Fatalism negatively predicted self-efficacy. Finally, study 8 (N=76) sought to determine whether focussing on different time perspectives were of help in achieving goals. Results revealed that by focusing on what we have achieved in the past and thinking about managing our future time in the same way we think about our present time may help us to achieve our goals by increasing self-efficacy.
Date of AwardSept 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorClare Wilson (Supervisor), Julie Cherryman (Supervisor) & Joerg Zinken (Supervisor)

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