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Politically Biased Time Perception and Perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 16.03.2022, 07:45 by Claudie Ouellet, Émie Tétreault, Simon Grondin

The main objective of this study was to determine if the estimation of time could be used to reveal an implicit political bias. The study also aimed at determining if a political bias is related to a specific temporal perspective or to other personality factors. The main demonstration is based on a bisection temporal task where the participants were asked to say if the duration of the presentation of a politician’s photo is short or long. There were three independent variables of interest: the location of politicians on the left (liberal) or right (conservative) on the political axis, the emotions expressed on a politician’s photo (joy, anger or neutral), and the political allegiances of the participants. Overall, compared to conditions with neutral faces or faces expressing joy, participants overestimated the duration of faces expressing anger. This effect, however, depends on the political allegiance of the participants. Compared to the neutral face condition, liberal participants overestimated the length of presentation of politicians’ faces in the joy and anger conditions. The results also showed that, compared to the condition in which photos of conservative politicians are presented, conservative participants underestimated the presentation duration of liberal politicians’ photos; such an influence of the orientation of presented politicians was not observed with liberal participants. The results also reveal that conservative participants differed from liberal participants on the future-oriented scale and on the past-positive-oriented scale of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI). The study shows that time perception can be used to reveal a kind of implicit political bias.


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