Mental time travel (MTT) ability allows people to project themselves mentally into the past and future. It is associated with people's mental representation of events and objects. Using text analysis methods, we explore the linguistic representation and emotional expression of people with various MTT abilities. In Study 1, we assessed the users' MTT distances, text lengths, visual perspectives, priming effects of temporal words, and emotional valences by analyzing 2973 users' microblog texts. From our statistical analysis findings, users with far MTT incorporated longer text length and more third-person pronouns in their microblogs and are more likely to relate the future and past with the present than people with near MTT. However, the study showed no significant difference in emotional valence between people with different MTT distances. In Study 2, we explored the relationship between emotional valence and MTT ability by analyzing the comments of 1112 users on "procrastination." We found the users with far MTT more positive toward procrastination than those with near MTT. By analyzing users' social media platform data, this study re-examined and verified previous findings indicating that users who mentally travel different temporal distances represent events and emotional expressions differently. This study serves as an important reference for MTT studies.
Keywords: Emotional expressions; Mental time travel; Microblog; Text representation.
© 2023. The Author(s).