Hancock, P.A. (2010). The effects of age and sex on the perception of time in life. American Journal of Psychology, 123(1), 1-13.
As a measure of their personal perception of time in life, 320 participants complete the Lines Test. Participants were asked to mark off on a line their perceived present life location between the endpoint anchors of birth and death. The percentage of the life span marked was compared with actuarial life expectancy to establish a quantitative degree of difference for each respondent. Results indicated a significant sex difference in which women across the age range investigated were more accurate as to their life location. Results also showed a significant age effect in which older participants consistently underestimated their location to a much greater degree than their younger peers. A second investigation presented an amended version of the traditional Lines Test and scaled the actuarial life span to each participant’s specific age. The pattern of findings was replicated by this procedure. Reasons for this overall pattern of results are discussed in terms of what is currently understood about the perception of short intervals of time and the perception of duration across the life span.
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