Time estimation: an investigation of method and interval variables
Boyer, Margaret Amelia
'Time' is a subject which seems to have fascinated men from the beginning of history! The practical man approached it by inventing machines which (presumably) measured the passing of time, without worrying very much whether the time, and time passing, were the same thing. Philosophers also were interested in time; some of them (notably Whitehead and Alexander) have recently used it as one of the basic concepts in their systems. Psychologists also have been interested in the subject, mostly from a practical point of view, and as a result many experiments relating to time have been carried out. Knowledge of time estimation can be applied in the area of clinical psychology, for distortions of time are frequently seen in cases of mental illness. Although many studies have been carried out on the ability of different diagnostic groups to estimate time, the results are of limited value only, for basic disagreements about time estimation itself still exist. The three main problems are: first, the method of measuring time estimation is still in the process of being procedurally defined; second, the relationships between the various methods generally accepted as measuring time estimation are still ill-defined; and third, the variables affecting performance still remain to be specified. It is the purpose of this study, then, to investigate these basic questions, with a view to opening up the way to more valuable clinical studies. More specifically, the aim of this study is to investigate the reliability of, and inter-relationships between, three methods of time estimation, using intervals of varying lengths.