A feeling for the future: How does agency in time metaphors relate to feelings?
Article first published online: 17 OCT 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 42, Issue 7, pages 813–823, December 2012
How to Cite
Richmond, J., Clare Wilson, J. and Zinken, J. (2012), A feeling for the future: How does agency in time metaphors relate to feelings?. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 42: 813–823. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.1906
- Issue published online: 22 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 17 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 18 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Received: 15 SEP 2011
Most cultures have metaphors for time that involve movement, for example, ‘time passes’. Although time is objectively measured, it is subjectively understood, as we can perceive time as stationary, whereby we move towards future events, or we can perceive ourselves as stationary, with time moving past us and events moving towards us. This paper reports a series of studies that first examines whether people think about time in a metaphor-consistent manner (Study 1) and then explores the relationship between ‘time perspective’, level of perceived personal agency, and time representations (Study 2), the relationship between emotional experiences and time representation (Study 3), and whether this relationship is bidirectional by manipulating either emotional experiences (Study 4) or time representation (Study 5). Results provide bidirectional evidence for an ego-moving representation of time, with happiness eliciting more agentic control, and evidence for a time-moving passivity associated with emotional experiences of anxiety and depression. This bidirectional relationship suggests that our representation of time is malleable, and therefore, current emotional experiences may change through modification of time representations. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.