Perceived Causality as a Cue to Temporal Distance
5 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2009
Date Written: January 3, 2005
The three experiments reported show that judgments of elapsed time between events depend on perceived causal relations between the events. Participants judged pairs of causally related events to occur closer together in time than pairs of causally unrelated events that were separated by the same actual time interval. The causality-time relationship was first demonstrated for time judgments about historical events. Causally related events were judged to be significantly closer together in time than causally unrelated events. In two subsequent experiments, perceived causality was manipulated by providing expert information and by asking the participants themselves to imagine causal relationships between the to-be-judged events. Again, substantial and reliable effects of perceived causality were obtained. Our results suggest that people use strength of perceived causality as a cue to infer temporal distance.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation