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Psychol Sci. 2009 Aug;20(8):949-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02390.x. Epub 2009 Jun 22.

Prismatic lenses shift time perception.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat, 5-40127 Bologna, Italy. francesc.frassinetti@unibo.it

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated the involvement of spatial codes in the representation of time and numbers. We took advantage of a well-known spatial modulation (prismatic adaptation) to test the hypothesis that the representation of time is spatially oriented from left to right, with smaller time intervals being represented to the left of larger time intervals. Healthy subjects performed a time-reproduction task and a time-bisection task, before and after leftward and rightward prismatic adaptation. Results showed that prismatic adaptation inducing a rightward orientation of spatial attention produced an overestimation of time intervals, whereas prismatic adaptation inducing a leftward shift of spatial attention produced an underestimation of time intervals. These findings not only confirm that temporal intervals are represented as horizontally arranged in space, but also reveal that spatial modulation of time processing most likely occurs via cuing of spatial attention, and that spatial attention can influence the spatial coding of quantity in different dimensions.

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