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Personality and Time Perception - Essay Example

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Personality and Time Perception

Stress-depleted attention processes become focused on task relevant activities and attention to time-based cues is inhibited, that distorts perceptions of time-in-passing and for time recollection in memory (Hancock & Weaver, 2005). Time perception with regard to personality traits has had some investigation, initiated by Eysenck's interest in the study of personality. Eysenck determined that two pre-dominant personality factors existed; the tendency to experience negative emotions (Neuroticism [N]); and the tendency to enjoy positive events (Extroversion [E]). E and N provided a 2-dimensional space to describe individual differences in behavior, very similar to the longitude and latitude coordinates on a global map. Eysenck's strength was to construct a model that detailed the causes of personality (Eysenck, 1970). He suggested that extraversion was the result of variability in cortical arousal; and that introverts tended to have higher levels of activity as compared to extraverts, and were inherently more cortically aroused than extraverts (Hancock & Weaver, 2005). This at first may appears counterintuitive, only that the solitary behavior of introverts seeks to dampen cortical stimulation, whereas the extravert seeks to heighten their levels of stimulation though impulsiveness and openness to experience. These patterns of behavior can be predicted using the Yerkes-Dodson Law (i.e., an empirical relationship between arousal and performance). So that performance increases with cognitive arousal but only to a certain pointl, when levels of arousal become too high, performance will decrease. There appears to be an optimal level of arousal for any given task (Twenge, Catanese, & Baumeister, 2003).
One study that investigated Eysenck's personality dimensions and perceptions of time used the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised (EPQ-R) and two temporal discrimination tasks. It was found that participant accuracy in the timing of brief intervals was unrelated to EPQ-R scores. And that accuracy of timing for longer intervals between 1-2 seconds was found to be significantly associated with the personality dimension of psychoticism (P), an introvert trait (Lienert & Rammsayer, 1998). Overall, introverts defined as low-P performed the most poorly of all the EPQ-R categories.
Clearly, there is limited literature available that investigates correlations between time perception and the personality trait Extroversion. This is a fault, as time perception dysfunctions have been related to impulsiveness and anti-social behaviors. The concept of impulsivity was stated by Eysenck to be a facet of extraversion (Eysenck, 1970). It appears that the cognitive tempo, or internal clocks, of the "impulsive" individual may run faster than those deemed "non-impulsive." Sp that the impulsive person is more likely to overestimate and underproduce time intervals (Hancock & Weaver, 2005). Contemporary literature generally considers impulsivity to be a trait in its own right that is highly correlated with extraversion.
Patients diagnosed with orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) damage have exhibited impulsive behavior as well as showing deficits in time perception. Further, damage to the OFC has been related to dis-inhibition or socially inappropriate behavior and emotional patterns (Berlin, Rolls, & Kischka, 2004). Hence, there ...Show more

Summary

It is evident from simple observation that there are significant individual differences in the ability to perceive time. Particularly, life events that cause intense stress have caused some people to distort time (Hancock & Weaver, 2005). From an evolutionary point of view, the degree of precision with which a person perceives time can pivot that person's ability to survive in an environment…
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Personality and Time Perception essay example
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