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PLoS One. 2018 Apr 3;13(4):e0195397. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195397. eCollection 2018.

The explicit judgment of long durations of several minutes in everyday life: Conscious retrospective memory judgment and the role of affects?

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Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, UMR 6324, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), Hellas, Greece.


In this study, individuals estimated interval times of several minutes (from 2 to 32 minutes) during their everyday lives using a cell phone they kept with them. Their emotional state, the difficulty of the activity performed during this interval, and the attention that it required were also assessed, together with their subjective experience of the passage of time. The results showed that the mean time estimates and their variability increased linearly with increasing interval duration, indicating that the fundamental scalar property of time found for short durations also applies to very long durations of several minutes. In addition, the emotional state and difficulty of the activity were significant predictors of the judgment of long durations. However, the awareness of the passage of time appeared to play a crucial role in the judgment of very long duration in humans. A theory on the emergence of the awareness of the passage of time and how it affects the judgment of interval durations lasting several minutes is therefore discussed.

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