Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
judgment, timescale, self-projection, speed
Previous research has demonstrated that, when people speculate about the minds of others, their judgments are subject to the timescale bias. People seem to attribute richer mind experience to humans whose walking speed is closer to the average human walking speed than to those whose speed is faster or slower. The present study investigated if self-projection is the underlying mechanism of the bias by examining dispositional walking speed as a potential moderator of the effect. Participants were asked to watch two videos of a human walking at slow, medium, or fast speeds and then asked to speculate about the targets' mental capacities. Participants' dispositional walking speed and their beliefs about their own mental capacities were assessed. I hypothesized that, when the walking speed of an observed target is close to the dispositional walking speed of the participant, the participant would be more likely to project his or her own mental capacities onto that target. The data, however, did not support this hypothesis. Furthermore, the timescale bias effect was not replicated when targets' walking speeds were within normal range of human speed, raising a question about ecological validity of the previously demonstrated effect. Consistent with the previous findings, participants attributed more mind to the targets that were more liked and perceived to be the more similar to self. As suggested by prior research, the mechanism responsible for these differences in mind attribution to a target appears to involve the degree to which one considers and identifies target's mental processes.
Zhuzha, Kseniya, "Attributing Mind to Others: The underlying mechanism of the timescale bias effect" (2011). Honors Theses. 1091.