Slow Motion Increased Perceived Intent Aug 16, 2016 By Benjamin ConverseEugene M. CarusoZachary C. Burns Slow Motion Increased Perceived Intent To determine the appropriate punishment for a harmful action, people must often make inferences about the transgressor’s intent. In courtrooms and popular media, such inferences increasingly rely on video evidence, which is often played in “slow motion.” Four experiments (n = 1,610) involving real surveillance footage from a murder or broadcast replays of violent contact in professional football demonstrate that viewing an action in slow motion, compared with regular speed, can cause viewers to perceive an action as more intentional. This slow motion intentionality bias occurred, in part, because slow motion video caused participants to feel like the actor had more time to act, even when they knew how much clock time had actually elapsed. Four additional experiments (n = 2,737) reveal that allowing viewers to see both regular speed and slow motion replay mitigates the bias, but does not eliminate it. We conclude that an empirical understanding of the effect of slow motion on mental state attribution should inform the life-or-death decisions that are currently based on tacit assumptions about the objectivity of human perception. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Areas of focus Social Psychology Benjamin Converse Benjamin Converse is an associate professor of public policy and psychology at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on motivation, social judgment, problem solving and decision making. He teaches courses related to leadership and negotiations. Read full bio Eugene M. Caruso Zachary C. Burns Related Content Benjamin Converse People systematically overlook subtractive changes Research A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient. Next Week, Next Month, Next Year: How Perceived Temporal Boundaries Affect Initiation Expectations Research To move from commitment to action, planners must think about the future and decide when to initiate. We demonstrate that planners prefer to initiate on upcoming days that immediately follow a temporal boundary. We instinctively add on new features and fixes. Why don’t we subtract instead? News Across a series of studies published this month in the journal Nature, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams, Benjamin Converse and co-authors demonstrated that people tend to overlook the option to subtract parts when asked to change or improve something. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, they explore why ‘less is more’ is a hard insight to act on. Why People Forget that Less is Often More News Why, when solving problems, do people prefer adding things to getting rid of them? In an article for The Economist, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams and Benjamin Converse explain their research on subtractive improvements.