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1995 Feels so Close Yet so Far: The Effect of Event Markers on Subjective Feelings of Elapsed Time

Posted: 14 Oct 2009  

Gal Zauberman

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Jonathan Levav

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Kristin Diehl

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Rajesh Bhargave

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Date Written: June 11, 2009

Abstract

Why do events that occurred around the same time feel more or less distant? Prior research suggests that characteristics of the event itself can affect the estimated date of its occurrence. Our work differs in that we focus on how characteristics of the time interval following the event affect people’s feelings of elapsed time, as revealed in their everyday expressions of how distant an event seems. We argue that a time interval that is punctuated by a greater number of accessible intervening events that are related to the target event (event markers) — but not unrelated intervening events — will make the target event feel more distant. In three studies we find support for the systematic effect of event markers. The effect of markers is independent of other characteristics of the event, such as its memorability, emotionality, importance, and estimated date, suggesting that this effect is distinct from established dating biases.

Keywords: time perception, duration estimation, dating biases

JEL Classification: D9, M3, D83

Suggested Citation

Zauberman, Gal and Levav, Jonathan and Diehl, Kristin and Bhargave, Rajesh, 1995 Feels so Close Yet so Far: The Effect of Event Markers on Subjective Feelings of Elapsed Time (June 11, 2009). Wiley-Blackwell, Psychological Science, Forthcoming 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1418138

Gal Zauberman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Jonathan Levav

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

Kristin Diehl

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Rajesh Bhargave

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

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