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Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 13;9(1):4378. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40870-6.

Movement-Contingent Time Flow in Virtual Reality Causes Temporal Recalibration.

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Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada.
Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada.


Virtual reality (VR) provides a valuable research tool for studying what occurs when sensorimotor feedback loops are manipulated. Here we measured whether exposure to a novel temporal relationship between action and sensory reaction in VR causes recalibration of time perception. We asked 31 participants to perform time perception tasks where the interval of a moving probe was reproduced using continuous or discrete motor methods. These time perception tasks were completed pre- and post-exposure to dynamic VR content in a block-counterbalanced order. One group of participants experienced a standard VR task ("normal-time"), while another group had their real-world movements coupled to the flow of time in the virtual space ("movement contingent time-flow; MCTF"). We expected this novel action-perception relationship to affect continuous motor time perception performance, but not discrete motor time perception. The results indicated duration-dependent recalibration specific to a motor task involving continuous movement such that the probe intervals were under-estimated by approximately 15% following exposure to VR with the MCTF manipulation. Control tasks in VR and non-VR settings produced similar results to those of the normal-time VR group, confirming the specificity of the MCTF manipulation. The findings provide valuable insights into the potential impact of VR on sensorimotor recalibration. Understanding this process will be valuable for the development and implementation of rehabilitation practices.

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