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Exp Brain Res. 2003 Apr;149(4):527-9. Epub 2003 Feb 26.

Voluntary action expands perceived duration of its sensory consequence.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1763, USA.


When we look at a clock with a hand showing seconds, the hand sometimes appears to stay longer at its first-seen position than at the following positions, evoking an illusion of chronostasis. This illusory extension of perceived duration has been shown to be coupled to saccadic eye movement and it has been suggested to serve as a mechanism of maintaining spatial stability across the saccade. Here, we examined the effects of three kinds of voluntary movements on the illusion of chronostasis: key press, voice command, and saccadic eye movement. We found that the illusion can occur with all three kinds of voluntary movements if such movements start the clock immediately. When a delay is introduced between the voluntary movement and the start of the clock, the delay itself is overestimated. These results indicate that the illusion of chronostasis is not specific to saccadic eye movement, and may therefore involve a more general mechanism of how voluntary action influences time perception.

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