The Effect of Emotional Spoken Words on Time Perception Depends on the Gender of the Speaker

in Timing & Time Perception
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of the emotional content of words marking brief intervals on the perceived duration of these intervals. Three independent variables were of interest: the gender of the person pronouncing the words, the gender of participants, and the valence (positive or negative) of the words in conjunction with their arousing properties. A bisection task was used and the tests, involving four different combinations of valence and arousing conditions (plus a neutral condition), were randomized within trials. The main results revealed that when the valence is negative, participants responded ‘short’ more often when words were pronounced by women rather than by men, and this effect occurred independently of the arousal condition. The results also revealed that overall, males responded ‘longer’more often than females. Finally, in the negative and low arousal condition, the Weber ratio was higher (lower sensitivity) when a male voice was used than when a female voice was used. This study shows that the gender of the person producing the stimuli whose duration is to be judged should be taken into account when analyzing the effect of emotion on time perception.



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  • Probability of responding ‘long’ (grouped data) of male participants, for male and female voice conditions, as a function of comparison intervals in each of five emotional conditions. The error bars indicate ± 1 SE.

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  • Probability of responding ‘long’ (grouped data) of female participants, for male and female voice conditions, as a function of comparison intervals in each of five emotional conditions. The error bars indicate ± 1 SE.

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  • Point of subjective equality (PSE, in ms) for male and female voice conditions in each of five emotional conditions. The error bars indicate ± 1 SE.

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