Everyday time processing

Ellis, David A. (2013) Everyday time processing. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to explore everyday aspects of time. Traditionally, the psychological study of time has been defined as the processes by which a person adapts to and represents temporal properties in order to synchronise external events. On the other hand, a good understanding of time is also vital when it comes to occupational and social organisation. How should time be considered across psychology remains an open question. While time perception is an established field in cognitive psychology, previous research has often focussed on either the perception of very short time intervals (milliseconds), or psychobiological effects of celestial time cycles (e.g. sleep/wake cycle or seasonal affective disorder). However, there remain several other aspects of time that while categorically different are no less important for example, 'mental time travel' or chronesthesia is the ability to mentally project into the future or past. While these phenomena are well acknowledged, it is only in the last few decades that research has started to document other 'higher level' cognitive processes that exist beyond traditional psychophysical constructs. By combining a range of experimental and secondary data analysis methodologies, this thesis examines the relationship between everyday units of time and systematic changes in behaviour across socially derived time cycles (i.e. the calendar week and the working day). It also considers the effects of individual differences on aspects of interpersonal organisation (e.g. punctuality and watch wearing). The main findings indicate that research into psychological time can and should go beyond minutes and seconds as present-day cognitive models are inadequate when it comes to accounting for everyday time processing errors. In addition, understanding the mechanisms behind higher-level timing processes may only become apparent if the topic makes a concentrated effort to become integrated with day-to-day cognition and behaviour. The results also have several applied implications including practical recommendations for optimising appointment systems in the National Health Service. Finally, these findings are discussed in relation to the ongoing debate regarding where psychological time research should focus future efforts if it is to maintain its current momentum from a theoretical and applied perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: time, mental representation, secondary data analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Jenkins, Dr. Rob
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Dr David A. Ellis
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4641
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2013 15:23
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013 15:25
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4641

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