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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2018 Apr;185:87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.01.009. Epub 2018 Feb 9.

Short-term effects on temporal judgement: Sequential drivers of interval bisection and reproduction.

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Hearing Hub, level 3, Macquarie University, 2109, Australia. Electronic address:
Manchester, UK.
Hearing Hub, level 3, Macquarie University, 2109, Australia.


Our prior experiences provide the background with which we judge subsequent events. In the time perception literature one common finding is that providing participants with a higher percentage of a particular interval can skew judgment; intervals will appear longer if the distribution of intervals contains more short experiences. However, changing the distribution of intervals that participants witness also changes the short-term, interval-to-interval, sequence that participants experience. In the experiment presented here, we kept the overall distribution of intervals constant while manipulating the immediately-prior experience of participants. In temporal bisection, this created a noted assimilation effect; participants judged intervals as shorter given an immediately preceding short interval. In interval reproduction, there was no effect of the immediately prior interval length unless the prior interval had a linked motor command. We thus proposed that the immediately prior interval provided a context by which a subsequent interval is judged. However, in the case of reproduction, where a subsequent interval is reproduced, rather than seen, the effects of contextualization are attenuated.


Assimilation; Interval bisection; Interval reproduction; Sequential experience; Temporal perception

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