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Degree of handedness, emotion, and the perceived duration of auditory stimuli

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Humans exhibit a remarkable ability to accurately judge time intervals, but this ability varies among individuals and across situations. Research suggests that arousal and attentional factors are consistently associated with subjective time distortions, and emotions such as anger, which can elicit arousal and attract attention, have frequently been studied in this context. Typically, viewing angry faces seems to consistently produce time overestimation relative to neutral faces, and the present study investigates the possibility that this effect extends to angry voices by means of a temporal bisection task. Additionally, this paper furthers previous findings that interhemispheric interaction as quantified by handedness strength (i.e., the degree to which one favours one hand over the other) is related to how individuals perceive future time points on an imagined time task, and explores the possibility that handedness strength differences may also manifest as differences in bisection task performance. Results showed that handedness strength was associated with differences in time perception in both objective (bisection) and subjective (imagined) contexts. Bisection task data further revealed that the angry stimulus was associated with decreased temporal sensitivity and a greater propensity to categorise stimuli as “short” as compared to the same stimulus spoken in a neutral voice, which contrasts with studies conducted using angry faces. Possible attentional explanations for these findings and suggestions for future research directions are discussed.
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Keywords: Bisection; Emotion perception; Handedness; Time perception

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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