Time and Direction (03-18-22)

Beracci and Fabbri studied how time is perceived to map onto physical locations; their findings may be useful to people trying to understand research findings, for example.  The investigators report that prior research has shown that “Time is represented along a horizontal mental line with an association between the past (or short duration) and left space as well as between the future (or long duration) and right space. . . . The aim of the present study was to test the presence of a vertical representation of temporal expressions, overcoming possible methodological limits. . . . In both experiments [Beracci and Fabbri conducted], a space–time interaction was found, with an association between past expressions and the bottom (or down arrow) response key as well as between future expressions and the top (or up arrow) key. The results suggest a bottom-to-top mapping of time representation, according to the ‘more-is-up’ metaphor.”

Alessia Beracci and Marco Fabbri.  “Past on the Ground Floor and Future in the Attic:  The Vertical Mental Timeline.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Human Perception and Performance, in press, https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000988