Special Perspectives

The Influence of a Sense of Time on Human Development

Science  30 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5782, pp. 1913-1915
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127488

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Abstract

The subjective sense of future time plays an essential role in human motivation. Gradually, time left becomes a better predictor than chronological age for a range of cognitive, emotional, and motivational variables. Socioemotional selectivity theory maintains that constraints on time horizons shift motivational priorities in such a way that the regulation of emotional states becomes more important than other types of goals. This motivational shift occurs with age but also appears in other contexts (for example, geographical relocations, illnesses, and war) that limit subjective future time.

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