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Self-awareness of biases in time perception


  • Brocas, Isabelle
  • Carrillo, Juan D.
  • Tarrasó, Jorge


We investigated self-awareness in time perception using three time production tasks with different reward structures, and collected self-assessments of performance. Participants had monetary incentives to target the true time in the first (baseline) task, not to exceed the true time in the second task and not to fall below the true time in the third task. We found that participants overestimated time in all tasks but responded correctly to incentives: they decreased their estimates in the second task and increased them in the third. Participants’ self-assessment in the baseline task was in line with their time perception biases, and their behavior in the other tasks was consistent with their (correct) beliefs. Self-perceived over-estimators decreased their estimates in the second task significantly more relative to self-perceived under-estimators, while in the third task they increased their estimates significantly less. Last, we explored the effect of physiological stress by having half of our population complete the Cold Pressure Task and found no significant effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D. & Tarrasó, Jorge, 2018. "Self-awareness of biases in time perception," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 1-19.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:1-19
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Isabelle Brocas & Juan D. Carrillo, 2008. "The Brain as a Hierarchical Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1312-1346, September.
    2. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Wang, Stephanie W., 2009. "On eliciting beliefs in strategic games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 98-109, August.
    3. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D & Kendall, Ryan, 2017. "Stress induces contextual blindness in lotteries and coordination games," CEPR Discussion Papers 12254, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Andrew Schotter & Isabel Trevino, 2014. "Belief Elicitation in the Laboratory," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 103-128, August.
    5. Jane E. J. Ebert & Drazen Prelec, 2007. "The Fragility of Time: Time-Insensitivity and Valuation of the Near and Far Future," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(9), pages 1423-1438, September.
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    More about this item


    Time perception; Decision-making; Self-awareness; Metacognition;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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