Temporal context influences the perceived duration of everyday actions: Assessing the ecological validity of lab-based timing phenomena

Nadine Schlichting, Atser Damsma, Eren Erdal Aksoy, Mirko Wächter, Tamim Asfour, Dirk van Rijn

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Timing is key to accurate performance, for example when learning a new complex sequence by mimicry. However, most timing research utilizes artificial tasks and simple stimuli with clearly marked onset and offset cues. Here we address the question whether existing interval timing findings generalize to real-world timing tasks. In this study, animated video clips of a person performing different everyday actions were presented and participants had to reproduce the main action’s duration. Although reproduced durations are more variable then observed in laboratory studies, the data adheres to two interval timing laws: Relative timing sensitivity is constant across durations (scalar property), and the subjective duration of a previous action influenced the current action’s perceived duration (temporal context effect). Taken together, this demonstrates that laboratory findings generalize, and paves the way for studying interval timing as a component of complex, everyday cognitive performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9-Jan-2018

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