Our Perception of Space and Time

Researchers over the years have concluded that there are five core personality traits. The list below represents the two extreme ends of each trait:

Open vs Closed Openness– People who lean to the open trait tend to be adventurous and creative while the second group of people are more conventional and prefer a simple/traditional lifestyle.

Conscientiousness vs Spontaneous– are those who tend to be organized and goal-oriented. Compared to those who are spontaneous who are more disorganized, and prefers unstructured environment/schedules.

Extrovert vs Introvert– are those who are social and outgoing, compared to those who are reserved and dislike being the center of attention.

Agreeable vs Hostile– are those who tend to be cooperative with each other and show empathy for others. Compare to the Hostile traits of those who are competitive and have little interest in others.

Stable vs Neurotic– Neuroticism examines the overall emotional stability of an individual through the lens of how they perceive the world. People on the stable end are emotionally stable and calm. While on the other spectrum, those people are moodier and struggle in stressful environments.

Carl Jung’s research on archetypes led him to the conclusion that no one is born with a blank slate. Our collective unconsciousness holds the key to our ancestral personality traits. The big 5 personality traits can be viewed as our ingrained personality traits. The aim of this document is to find a relationship between our personality and our perception of time and space.

Albert Einstein’s perception of the universe as a fabric where space and time interweave. At a given point in the universe, space cannot exist without time and vice-versa. For example, in practicality, if one asked a friend to meet at the theater without being given a date and time, most likely the two persons will never meet. Similarly, if one asked a friend to meet at 9 pm without given the space, the same results hold true.

However, human perceptions of time and space are different as often we tend to decouple this fabric of space and time(Conway,2016). Those who focus on time as an important factor, would enjoy planning and enjoy a set schedule. These are the ones who enjoy the experience of planning out all the activities, stops, and timelines before going on a trip. Based on the personality traits, they would have a high have Conscientiousness. A high conscientiousness may refer to an enjoyable situation as the “best time”.

On the other extreme end of the spectrum, are people who are Spontaneous. Spontaneous people dislike structured schedules and are impulsive. They enjoy experiencing the unknowns of space. By making the best of the space they are currently occupied, irrespective of the time. Often, they are the ones that would be in one space and enjoy seeking out the next space respective of any planning or scheduling. A spontaneous person may refer to an enjoyable situation as the“best moments”.

Our Conscientiousness vs Spontaneous personality trait lies on a continuum, meaning a person can lie from any of the extreme points to anywhere on the continuum line. In the previous paragraph, a relationship between Conscientiousness vs Spontaneous personality can be linked to time and space awareness. Since Conscientiousness vs Spontaneous is a continuum, we can also deduce that our perception of time and space also sits on a continuum. Hence the degree of our perception of time and space is different based on our perception of conscientiousness/spontaneous.

Let’s consider on a number line, 0 represents the lowest conscientiousness (spontaneous) and 10 represents the highest conscientiousness. This can also be represented on the time-space continuum as 0 being space awareness and 10 being time awareness. While Conway’s research showed that we tend to decouple time and space. Is it possible for those who lie in the middle of the scale, to be the ones that find the balance of conscientiousness and can truly understand the fabric of space-time?

Conway L. et al., 2016, Psychological Spacetime: Implications of Relativity Theory for Time Perception, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244016674511

Categorized as Home