Examining the relationship between group membership and time perspective on threat and policy support
Two common metaphors can be used to spatially represent time: the ego-moving metaphor, wherein one sees themselves as moving forward in time past stationary objects; and the time-moving metaphor, wherein an individual perceives time moving toward them while they remain stationary. The way in which one conceives of time can influence the way events in time are perceived, and conversely, perceptions of events in time can influence the metaphor one adopts. Study 1 examined the influence of one's racial group membership on the time perspective one adopts. It was hypothesized that when considering a future where racial equality has been achieved, White Americans would be more likely to adopt a time-moving perspective, whereas Black Americans would be more likely to adopt an ego-moving perspective. Furthermore, this relation was hypothesized to be moderated by endorsement of group hierarchies. Results showed that participant race did influence time perspective-Black participants were more likely to adopt an ego moving time perspective than were White Participants. However, this effect was not moderated by social dominance orientation or by egalitarianism. Study 2 sought to build upon Study 1 by examining the consequences of adopting a particular time perspective for White Americans when considering racial equality. It was hypothesized that participants exposed to an ego-moving prime who are high in social dominance orientation would perceive more threat toward their ingroup than those who are exposed to a time-moving prime, and in turn impact policy support. A similar model was also examined with egalitarianism as a moderator. Evidence for moderated mediation was not found. Participants who were high in social dominance orientation were more likely to perceive threat to their ingroup and perceived threat did predict policy endorsement. Conversely, those who were high in egalitarianism perceived less threat to their group, and threat again predicted policy support. These findings suggest that an individual's perception of time can be influenced by their racial group membership.