How time flies: The effects of conversation characteristics and partner attractiveness on duration judgments in a social interaction

Ping Dong*, Robert S. Wyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

A theory of information processing proposed by Wyer and Srull (1989) is used to conceptualize the characteristics of a get-acquainted conversation that influence perceptions of its duration. These perceptions are partly determined by whether persons focus their attention on things their partner says or on things they personally say, and this, in turn, depends on their partner's physical attractiveness. Participants' estimates of a conversation's duration immediately after it occurs are based on their enjoyment of the conversation and were shorter when the person on whom they had focused talked a lot than when (s)he said very little. After a 2-3. day delay, however, they base their estimates on the amount of the conversation they could remember and estimate that it lasted longer in the former condition than in the latter. These conclusions were confirmed in both simulated conversations and an actual interaction between partners of the opposite sex. Thus, individuals' immediate and delayed estimates of the duration of an interaction can be opposite in direction, and this difference is driven by both the characteristics of the conversation (i.e., speaker dominance) and social and motivational factors that could influence people's focus of attention (i.e., the attractiveness of their conversation partner).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Attention focus
  • Impression formation
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Social communication
  • Time estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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