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Publication - Dr Christopher Benton

    Adapting to time

    Duration channels do not mediate human time perception


    Curran, W, Benton, CP, Harris, J, Hibbard, P & Beattie, L, 2016, ‘Adapting to time: Duration channels do not mediate human time perception’. Journal of Vision, vol 16.


    Accurately encoding the duration and temporal order of events is essential for survival and important to everyday activities, from holding conversations to driving in fast flowing traffic. Although there is a growing body of evidence that the timing of brief events (< 1s) is encoded by modality-specific mechanisms, it is not clear how such mechanisms register event duration. One approach gaining traction is a channel-based model; this envisages narrowly-tuned, overlapping timing mechanisms that respond preferentially to different durations. The channel-based model predicts that adapting to a given event duration will result in overestimating and underestimating the duration of longer and shorter events, respectively. We tested the model by having observers judge the duration of a brief (600ms) visual test stimulus following adaptation to longer (860ms) and shorter (340ms) stimulus durations. The channel-based model predicts perceived duration compression of the test stimulus in the former condition and perceived duration expansion in the latter condition. Duration compression occurred in both conditions, suggesting that the channel-based model does not adequately account for perceived duration of visual events.

    Full details in the University publications repository