A future-minded lark in the morning: The influence of time-of-day and chronotype on metaphorical associations between space and time

Metaphor and Symbol 33 (1):48-57 (2018)

According to the Temporal Focus Hypothesis, space–time mappings in people’s minds are shaped by their attentional focus. Previous research has shown that numerous cultural and individual factors underpinning temporal focus may contribute to the direction of space–time mappings in people’s mental models. However, the role of time of day in shaping spatial conceptions of time has not been investigated. In a series of three experiments, Chinese participants, who were more likely to be future-focused in the morning than afternoon, were also more likely to produce a future-in-front mapping. However, this morning future-minded effect can only be found in morning people, suggesting a mediating role of chronotype processes. Taken together, the findings across studies suggest that people’s representations of time may arise from an interaction between a person’s chronotype and time-of-day, a phenomenon that we refer to as the chronotype future-minded effect.
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DOI 10.1080/10926488.2018.1407995
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