Researchers examine how we experience time

November 26, 2012
Perception of time

(Medical Xpress)—How people experience time may be affected by the way that they perceive cause and effect, new research by the University has shown.

Dr Marc Buehner of the School of Psychology examined how causal belief – understanding that one thing leads to another (for example flicking a switch and a light coming on) – influences perception.

As part of the research, participants were asked to predict when a light would flash. In one part of the study, the target flash was preceded by a signal light; in two further parts, participants either pressed a button to make the light flash, or a separate machine pressed the button to make the light flash.

Results showed that predictions in the first group of when the light would flash were significantly later than those in the other two groups, even though the intervals were exactly the same. In these groups, the causal connection participants had formed in their minds changed their perception and motor planning – time appeared shorter between the cause (pressing the button themselves or a machine doing this) and the effect (the flash of the light).

Speaking about the results, Dr Buehner said: "Here we can show that perceptions are subject to systematic distortions depending on people's causal beliefs - if people believe that they, or someone or something else, are in charge, time appears to pass faster. In contrast, just knowing when something will happen, in the absence of causality, did not change ."

Dr Buehner believes that these findings may have practical implications for usability engineers and interface designers.

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Experimental Psychology Society and is published in the journal .

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1 / 5 (1) Nov 26, 2012
Just as when pianists assert they still have control over the portion of the path taken by a piano hammer when the hammer strikes the string, including the paths shortly before and after impact.

How do you convince any subject tested of the "absence of causality"?

On the other hand children need no play in a world they have envisaged.
Phil DePayne
1 / 5 (1) Nov 26, 2012
There is significant ability to change the impact of a piano hammer, for an idea of this see:

not rated yet Nov 26, 2012
or -- OR it could show that sensory input delay from tactile stimulation in the fingers is key to effectively monitoring temporal measurements.

next time buzz their finger when the button is pushed.
1 / 5 (1) Nov 26, 2012
@El Nose
The first study is sensory input from visual stimulation.

Pure BS.
No pianist strives to 'control', much less attempts to impart an amount of hammer shaft 'flex' consciously or unconsciously.

The last sentence gives it away...

"The large number of variables ensures that every pianist will produce a different tone."


Definitely NOT any definition of the word 'control'.

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