A perceptual glitch in serial perception generating temporal distortions

  • Precisely estimating event timing is essential for survival, yet temporal distortions are ubiquitous in our daily sensory experience. Here, we tested whether the relative position, relative duration and relative distance in time of two sequentially-organized events —standard S, with constant duration, and comparison C, varying trial-by-trial— are causal factors in generating temporal distortions. We found that temporal distortions emerge when the first event is shorter than the second event. Importantly, a significant interaction suggests that a longer ISI helps counteracting such serial distortion effect only the constant S is in first position, but not if the unpredictable C is in first position. These results suggest the existence of a perceptual bias in perceiving ordered event durations, mechanistically contributing to distortion in time perception. We simulated our behavioral results with a Bayesian model and replicated the finding that participants disproportionately expand first-position dynamic (unpredictable) short events. Our results clarify the mechanics generating time distortions by identifying a hitherto unknown duration-dependent encoding inefficiency in human serial temporal perception, akin to a strong prior that can be overridden for highly predictable sensory events but unfolds for unpredictable ones.

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Author:Franklenin SierraORCiD, R. MuralikrishnanORCiDGND, David PoeppelORCiDGND, Alessandro TavanoORCiD
Parent Title (English):bioRxiv
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2022/05/20
Date of first Publication:2022/05/20
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/04/18
Page Number:18
Institutes:Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / MPI für empirische Ästhetik
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International