Calendars Matter: Temporal Categories Affect Cognition about Future Time Periods

Johanna Peetz*, Kai Epstude

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Every day, we encounter representations of time in the form of calendars, day planners, and watches. What effect might different structures of time representations have on how we think about the time that is being represented? In four studies, we investigate whether segregation (many temporal categories) or aggregation (few temporal categories) of a time period affects appraisals of the time period itself. Results showed that when a more segregated timeline (Study 1b) or calendar (Study 2) was presented, or if participants chose a more segregated timeline (Study 1 a) or calendar (Study 3), the perceived impact of anticipated events during the time period was amplified. Anticipating positive events in a year represented in many temporal categories (e.g., a calendar emphasizing days) led participants to see this year as overall more positive than if the year was represented in few temporal categories (e.g., a calendar emphasizing months).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-270
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2016



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