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Dev Sci. 2018 Nov 10:e12769. doi: 10.1111/desc.12769. [Epub ahead of print]

When causality shapes the experience of time: Evidence for temporal binding in young children.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
2
School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.
3
School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK.
4
Department of Psychology, University College London, London, UK.
5
Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

Abstract

It is well established that the temporal proximity of two events is a fundamental cue to causality. Recent research with adults has shown that this relation is bidirectional: events that are believed to be causally related are perceived as occurring closer together in time-the so-called temporal binding effect. Here, we examined the developmental origins of temporal binding. Participants predicted when an event that was either caused by a button press, or preceded by a non-causal signal, would occur. We demonstrate for the first time that children as young as 4 years are susceptible to temporal binding. Binding occurred both when the button press was executed via intentional action, and when a machine caused it. These results suggest binding is a fundamental, early developing property of perception and grounded in causal knowledge. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQC_MqjxZQQ.

KEYWORDS:

causal binding; causality; intentional action; temporal binding; temporal contiguity; time perception

PMID:
30414236
DOI:
10.1111/desc.12769

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