August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
On the perception of temporal visual events
Author Affiliations
  • Frank Marino
    Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Tyler Garaas
    Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Marc Pomplun
    Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Boston
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 1087. doi:
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      Frank Marino, Tyler Garaas, Marc Pomplun; On the perception of temporal visual events. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):1087.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Introduction and Motivation. In the mid-20th century while attempting to determine the development of the concept of time in children, Jean Piaget demonstrated that children under eight years of age are unable to perceptually discern the speed and time traveled of simple objects. For instance, when viewing two simultaneously moving objects (A and B), where both objects start and stop at the same time but A is moving faster than B, the child will report that A traveled longer due to the perceptual entanglement between space and time. Indeed, there is a multitude of instances in which conscious visual experience can be demonstrated to deviate significantly from the actual course of events, such as perisaccadic mislocalization, multi-modal visual illusions, and the misperception of object size in 3D scenes.

Methods. Following Piaget's example, in the present study, we explore the ability of healthy adults to discern differences in speed and travel duration of two simple cartoon cars presented on a standard monitor (100 Hz refresh). Ten speed levels and ten travel durations in both sequential and simultaneous presentation conditions were tested. At the end of each trial, subjects were asked to indicate which car had traveled faster and which had traveled longer. Subjects were also tested in a cross-modal version of the experiment in which the pitch and duration of an engine sound attempted to mislead subjects' perception.

Results. Preliminary results demonstrate that during trials in which both cars travel simultaneously, subjects perform with a high degree of accuracy. However, during sequential presentation, subjects' perception of relative speed is degraded in relation to perception of relative travel duration. Furthermore, both sound pitch and sound duration significantly degraded subjects' perception of both speed and travel time, with sound pitch inducing a greater distortion in perception than sound duration.

Marino, F. Garaas, T. Pomplun, M. (2009). On the perception of temporal visual events [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):1087, 1087a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.1087. [CrossRef]
 Supported in part by NIH grant R15EY017988 to M.P.

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