Individual Differences in Self-Rated Impulsivity Modulate the Estimation of Time in a Real Waiting Situation

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In this study we investigated how individual differences regarding impulsivity and time perspective predict the experience of waiting during a time interval without distraction. Each participant (N = 82) filled out self-report questionnaires on impulsiveness (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale) and time perspective (Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory). Participants were individually shut into an empty room for exactly 7.5 minutes and afterwards asked to report their subjective impressions regarding the experience of time, self and affective reactions. Correlation analyses showed that being more relaxed and having a positive feeling was related to shorter duration estimates and a perceived faster passage of time. Individual traits of impulsivity, present-hedonistic and present-fatalistic time orientation were associated with relative overestimation of duration and a perceived slower passage of time; future orientation was related to an underestimation of duration and a perceived faster passage of time. Multiple regression models show that impulsivity alone predicts the variance related to time estimation of the waiting period. Multiple path analyses reveal that individuals who are more impulsive are less relaxed while waiting and accordingly overestimate duration and feel a slower passage of time. Negative affect and an impulsive present orientation are related to an overestimation of duration and the feeling of a slower passage of time while waiting.

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