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Evidence That Thinking About Death Relates to Time-Estimation Behavior

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Time and death are linked—the passing of time brings us closer to death. Terror management theory proposes that awareness of death represents a potent problem that motivates a variety of psychological defenses (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1997). We tested the hypothesis that thinking about death motivates elongated perceptions of brief intervals of time. Studies 1 and 2 found that college students who reported thinking more frequently about death overestimated brief durations. Study 3 found evidence of the predicted causal relationship. Students assigned to think about death provided longer time estimates than those assigned to think about a control topic.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Psychology Department,University of Canterbury, ChristchurchNew Zealand 2: Department of Psychology,Texas A&M University, College StationTexas, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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