Exploring the neural substrates of approach motivation and time perception

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Past research has shown that affects high in approach motivation, the impetus to move toward a desired goal or object, may hasten the perception of time as compared to a neutral state (Gable & Poole, 2012). The current experiments sought to replicate and expand this past work by exploring the neural correlates of approach motivation and time perception. Participants in two experiments completed a pair of time bisection tasks designed to measure the speed at which time passed during and after presentation of neutral pictures and high approach-motivated positive pictures. Electroencephalography recordings were taken during each task to measure specific neural correlates of approach motivation (i.e., alpha-delta band power, frontal cortical asymmetry) and time perception (i.e., the contingent negative variation). Overall, results revealed a hastening of time during the high approach-motivated positive (vs. neutral) pictures/intervals. In addition, results suggest that high approach-motivated positive (vs. neutral) affect may enhance contingent negative variation amplitudes and alpha-delta power. Taken together, these results shed new light on how approach motivation and time perception function within the brain, and emphasize the importance of examining approach-related affects in neurophysiological research.

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