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Seonggyu Choe, Oh-Sang Kwon; Duration of a time interval is perceived longer when you know when it ends. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):163a. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.163a.
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Knowledge of the ending time can affect how you perceive the remaining time (e.g. classroom lecture vs. church preaching). Despite the rich literature reporting the effects of various factors, which includes dynamicity of stimulus (Brown, 1995) and familiarity (Witherspoon, 1985), on the perceived duration, quantitative evidence showing how the knowledge about the time itself affects the time perception is lacking. Here, we examined how the perceived duration of a time interval changes when subjects know when the time interval ends. In Experiment 1, we presented a clock hand rotating at a constant speed and asked subjects to reproduce the perceived duration of the rotation by pressing a button. The duration of the rotation was randomly chosen from 10 linearly spaced time intervals ranging from 500ms to 3000ms. Angular speed (24 deg/s to 120 deg/s), starting angle, and rotating direction were randomized. A bar indicating the final angle of the clock hand was presented while the clock hand was rotating, which informed subjects of the ending time. The bar was not presented in a control condition. In Experiment 2, the bar indicating ending time was presented before the start of rotation and disappeared. All other experimental settings were identical to Experiment 1. In Experiment 1, the mean reproduced duration was 10% longer when a bar indicating the ending time was continuously presented (F(1,13)=15.95, partial eta squared=.55, p=.001) than in the control condition. In Experiment 2, the mean reproduced duration was 9% longer when a bar was presented and disappeared (F(1,6)=9.67, partial eta squared=.62, p=.002) than in the control condition. Results show that duration of a time interval is perceived longer when subjects know when the interval will end. It was not a critical factor whether the information of the ending time is visually presented or remembered in dilating perceived time.
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