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Xiangchuan Chen, Bin Xuan, Daren Zhang, Sheng He; Duration estimation is affected by stimulus magnitude information in non-temporal dimensions. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):1009. doi: 10.1167/6.6.1009.
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Representation of magnitude information, such as the size of a square or number of apples in a box, is an important function of the human brain. Previous studies reported that magnitude information belonging to different categories could generate a Stroop-like interference effect, suggesting a common mechanism underlying the magnitude representation. In the present study, we investigated whether the estimation of temporal duration could be influenced by the magnitude information expressed by the stimuli that were used to mark the events. These marker stimuli included digits (larger or smaller), dots (more or less), squares (bigger or smaller), and luminance (higher or lower). Subjects were required to judge which one of two stimuli was presented for a longer (or shorter) duration, or which one of two intervals defined by three sequential stimuli was longer (or shorter). In the first experiment, subjects performed faster and more accurately when a “smaller” stimulus (e.g., digit 1) was presented for a shorter duration and a “larger” stimulus (e.g., digit 8) was presented for a longer duration (congruent condition). In the second experiment, subjects also performed better when the shorter interval was defined by two stimuli with a “smaller” difference (e.g., digits 9 and 8) and the longer interval was defined by two stimuli with a “larger” difference (e.g., digits 8 and 2). These results suggest that temporal duration estimation shares some components with the representations of magnitude information in non-temporal dimensions.
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