Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Management by Research


School of Business


Faculty of Business and Law

First Supervisor

Dr Peter Standen


Carstensen’s Socioemotional Selectivity Theory proposes that a person’s ‘time perspective’ influences whether they seek emotional or cognitive goals (Carstensen, Isaacowitz & Charles, 1999). When time is viewed as open or unlimited, individuals are motivated by cognitive goals, for example to accumulate knowledge for future use. When the future is perceived as limited, individuals turn to goals to do with emotional satisfaction.

This study examined the effects of time perspective in an experimental study in which participants were required to perform a pencil-and-paper task. Time pressure was applied to the experimental group by the experimenter’s instructions, particularly through misleading information about the time left. The extent of emotional and cognitive processing during the task was assessed via three questionnaires administered on task completion.

The principle research hypothesis was that time pressure would influence participants’ responses towards emotional states. The influence of three moderating variables was also examined: age, gender and a trait measure of time perspective. One hundred and twenty seven participants took part in the study. The results partially supported the hypotheses. In particular, evidence to support the application of Carstensen’s theory to time pressure in the workplace was found in terms of an increase of in emotional processing under pressure.

The implication of this finding, if confirmed by future research, is that managers should be made aware that employees under time pressure may become more emotive during decision-making. This may have positive consequences or could lead to less carefully considered decisions, depending on the employee’s emotional intelligence. Greater understanding of the effects of time pressure is therefore an important goal for both management development programs, as well as for future research.

LCSH Subject Headings

Edith Cowan University - Faculty of Business and Law - Dissertations.

Employees - Attitudes

Behavioral assessment

Time pressure