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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1975 May;31(5):898-904.

Causes and consequences of time perception differences in overweight and normal weight people.


Three experiments considered whether there are differences between overweight and normal weight subjects in time perception which represent the obese subjects' lack of internal responsiveness as well as heightened external reactivity in a noneating setting. In the first study, no time-relevant cues were provided, and overweight subjects were inaccurate in their temporal judgments and showed significantly higher group variability than did normals. In the second study, the effects of differential temporal information generated by interesting and boring cues was considered. The presentation of these time-relevant external cues reduced the judgment variability of the overweight subjects and influenced their perceived passage of time significantly more than normals. The third study examined the influence, on eating behavior, of differences in perceived passage of time as a consequence of manipulating cues for interest or boredom. When bored, overweight subjects perceived time to pass more slowly than did normals and thus ate sooner. Similarly, they delayed eating, judging time to have passed more quickly than it actually had, when they were attending to interesting cues. The implications of a generalized lack of internal sensitivity for a theory about the development and consequences of obesity are discussed.

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