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Luhe Li, Shogo Ito, Yuko Yotsumoto; Effect of change saliency and neural entrainment on flicker-induced time dilation. Journal of Vision 2020;20(6):15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.6.15.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When a visual stimulus flickers periodically and rhythmically, the perceived duration tends to exceed its physical duration in the peri-second range. Although flicker-induced time dilation is a robust time illusion, its underlying neural mechanisms remain inconclusive. The neural entrainment account proposes that neural entrainment of the exogenous visual stimulus, marked by steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) over the visual cortex, is the cause of time dilation. By contrast, the saliency account argues that the conscious perception of flicker changes is indispensable. In the current study, we examined these two accounts separately. The first two experiments manipulated the level of saliency around the critical fusion threshold (CFF) in a duration discrimination task to probe the effect of change saliency. The amount of dilation correlated with the level of change saliency. The next two experiments investigated whether neural entrainment alone could also induce perceived dilation. To preclude change saliency, we utilized a combination of two high-frequency flickers above the CFF, whereas their beat frequency still theoretically aroused neural entrainment at a low frequency. Results revealed a moderate time dilation induced by combinative high-frequency flickers. Although behavioral results suggested neural entrainment engagement, electroencephalography showed neither larger power nor inter-trial coherence (ITC) at the beat. In summary, change saliency was the most critical factor determining the perception and strength of time dilation, whereas neural entrainment had a moderate influence. These results highlight the influence of higher-level visual processing on time perception.
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