When time slows down: The influence of threat on time perception in anxiety

Yair Bar-Haim*, Aya Kerem, Dominique Lamy, Dan Zakay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, we explored the effect of exposure to threat versus neutral stimuli on time perception in anxious (n=29) and non-anxious (n=29) individuals using predictions from the attentional gate model (AGM) of time perception. Results indicate that relative to non-anxious individuals, anxious individuals subjectively experience time as moving more slowly when exposed to short (2-second) presentations of threat stimuli, and that group differences disappear with longer exposure durations (4 and 8 seconds). Coupled with classic reports of enhanced attentional bias toward threat and diminished attentional control under stress in anxious individuals this finding provides novel insights into low-level cognitive processes that could shape and maintain the subjective experience of anxiety. Findings are discussed in relation to predictions from the AGM and cognitive accounts of anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


FundersFunder number
Israeli Science FoundationISF 964/08


    • Anxiety
    • Arousal
    • Attention bias
    • Face
    • Time perception


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