Monday, 1 April 2013

Tomorrow is closer than Yesterday

Heading back to work after the bank holiday. Does last weekend seem like ages ago, and work deadlines this week scarily close?

The Past feels psychologically further away than the Future. Recent research by Caruso et al (2013) showed that Valentine's Day will feel closer in time one week beforehand than one week after. This has been dubbed the ‘temporal Doppler effect’.

Caruso had a scale from 1 to 7 (1 is close in time, 7 being distant in time). Participants rated an upcoming Valentine's Day an average of 3.9 when it was one week in the future, but an average of 4.8 when it was one week in the past.

This could be a good thing. We appear to be future orientated. This may even be adaptive as it is useful in helping us plan, we are more concerned about (perceptively closer) future events. It may help us move on from past mistakes (‘that was ages ago’ type of feeling). It allows us to focus on and meet deadlines we think are imminent.

There could also be a downside however, as we tend to forget the past, repeat mistakes and focus on ‘getting it right next time’. Either way, as long as we know that we are prone to this way of thinking we can factor it in.

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