Timescale bias in the attribution of mind

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2007 Jul;93(1):1-11. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.93.1.1.


In this research, the authors found that people use speed of movement to infer the presence of mind and mental attributes such as intention, consciousness, thought, and intelligence in other persons, animals, and objects. Participants in 4 studies exhibited timescale bias--perceiving human and nonhuman targets (animals, robots, and animations) as more likely to possess mental states when those targets moved at speeds similar to the speed of natural human movement, compared with when targets performed actions at speeds faster or slower than the speed of natural human movement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Mental Processes*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motion Perception
  • Motor Activity*
  • Personal Construct Theory*
  • Time Perception*