Time Crawls When You're Not Having Fun: Feeling Entitled Makes Dull Tasks Drag On

Topics: Psychology, Time, Perception Pages: 32 (8003 words) Published: September 24, 2013
Personality and Social Psychology
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Time Crawls When You're Not Having Fun : Feeling Entitled Makes Dull Tasks Drag On Edward H. O'Brien, Phyllis A. Anastasio and Brad J. Bushman
Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2011 37: 1287 originally published online 12 May 2011 DOI: 10.1177/0146167211408922
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408922

PSP371010.1177/0146167211408922

Article

Time Crawls When You’re Not
Having Fun: Feeling Entitled
Makes Dull Tasks Drag On

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
37(10) 1287­–1296
© 2011 by the Society for
Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
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DOI: 10.1177/0146167211408922
http://pspb.sagepub.com

Edward H. O’Brien1, Phyllis A. Anastasio2, and Brad J. Bushman3,4

Abstract
All people have to complete dull tasks, but individuals who feel entitled may be more inclined to perceive them as a waste of their “precious” time, resulting in the perception that time drags. This hypothesis was confirmed in three studies. In Study 1, participants with higher trait entitlement (controlling for related variables) thought dull tasks took longer to complete; no link was found for fun tasks. In Study 2, participants exposed to entitled messages thought taking a dull survey was a greater waste of time and took longer to complete. In Study 3, participants subliminally exposed to entitled words thought dull tasks were less interesting, thought they took longer to complete, and walked away faster when leaving the laboratory. Like most resources, time is a resource valued more by entitled individuals. A time–entitlement link provides novel insight into mechanisms underlying self-focus and prosocial dynamics.

Keywords
time perception, entitlement, self-focus, decision making, emotion Received September 28, 2010; revision accepted March 21, 2011

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, fritter
and waste the hours in an offhand way.
—Pink Floyd
Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.
—John Lennon

For some, a dull moment can seem like an eternity,
whereas for others there is no such thing as a dull moment.
Recall an all-too-familiar example: one colleague who complains incessantly of busywork and routine office tasks that waste valuable time versus another colleague who approaches
the same tasks with vigor and excitement. What psychological factors might explain why some people drag along to the beat of Pink Floyd, but others are driven by the beat of John Lennon?1
An array of individual differences account for such varied
attitudes toward the passing of time. For instance, people
with greater capacities for attention and engagement (Block
& Zakay, 1997), novelty (Danckert & Allman, 2005), impulsivity (Van den Broek, Bradshaw, & Szabadi, 1992), and present-oriented hedonistic values that enable flow (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999; see Csikszentmihalyi, 1997) all perceive time

as passing more quickly than others. There are also distinct

situational influences on temporal experience, ranging from
the speeding effects of alcohol and caffeine (Terry, Doumas, Desai, & Wing, 2009) to the slowing effects of social rejection and exhausted cognitive energy...

Citations: http://psp.sagepub.com/content/37/10/1287.refs.html
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OnlineFirst Version of Record - May 12, 2011
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408922
Received September 28, 2010; revision accepted March 21, 2011
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, fritter
& Zakay, 1997), novelty (Danckert & Allman, 2005), impulsivity (Van den Broek, Bradshaw, & Szabadi, 1992), and
present-oriented hedonistic values that enable flow (Zimbardo
& Boyd, 1999; see Csikszentmihalyi, 1997) all perceive time
as passing more quickly than others
Desai, & Wing, 2009) to the slowing effects of social rejection and exhausted cognitive energy (Twenge, Catanese, &
Baumeister, 2003; Vohs & Schmeichel, 2003; respectively).
1995), and geographical location (e.g., general pace of life is
quicker in cities than in more rural areas; Levine, 1997).
Email: obrieneh@umich.edu
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