My Time, Your Time, or Our Time? Time Perception and Its Associations with Interpersonal Goals and Life Outcomes

  • Yu NiiyaEmail author
Research Paper


Time spent with others may be perceived as a limited resource that one can gain or lose or as a nonzero-sum resource that people share and co-create. Is perceiving time as a nonzero-sum resource associated with better life outcomes and how do interpersonal goals shape how one perceives time? What are the predictors of these time perceptions? A sample of 501 Japanese adults completed measures of time perception, compassionate and self-image goals, basic needs satisfaction, subjective well-being, perceived stress, time affluence, and objective time scarcity. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the newly developed time perception scale had four correlated factors: time taken, taking time, offering time, and nonzero-sum time. A structural equation modeling further showed that nonzero-sum time perception was associated with basic needs satisfaction, greater subjective well-being, and lower perceived stress. In contrast, zero-sum time perception (more specifically the perception that one is taking others’ time) was negatively associated with basic needs satisfaction and subjective well-being, and positively with perceived stress. Compassionate goals to support others were associated negatively with zero-sum time perception and positively with nonzeo-sum time perception whereas self-image goals to project a desirable image of the self were correlated with zero-sum time perception and unexpectedly, also with nonzero-sum time perception. This research points to the possibility that perceiving time as nonzero-sum resource rather than a zero-sum resource promotes happiness.


Time perception Zero-sum Compassionate goals Basic need satisfaction Subjective well-being; perceived stress 



I thank Dr. Jennifer Crocker for providing helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript and Dr. Yuki Miyagawa for his assistance with the back-translation. This research was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15K17254.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Global and Interdisciplinary StudiesHosei UniversityTokyoJapan

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