A model of empty duration perception.

Y. Nakajima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


An attempt to construct a general theory of duration perception is presented. First, four experiments are reported in which the supplement hypothesis, on the relation between two or three empty durations, was examined: the subjective duration of a subjectively empty time interval is directly proportional to its physical duration plus a constant of approximately 80 ms. This hypothesis could be applied to the ratio judgments of auditorily marked empty durations between 40 and 600 ms given serially. It could also explain the discrepancies between musically notated rhythms and the corresponding physical performed rhythms in very simple rhythm patterns consisting of three tones. Next, three earlier experiments on discriminations of empty durations marked by sound bursts were also reanalyzed. Within the range 40-600 ms, the absolute just noticeable difference of an empty duration was almost directly proportional to the standard duration plus a constant of about 80 ms. If the supplement hypothesis is accepted, this means that the relative just noticeable difference of the subjective duration was constant. Finally, the processing time hypothesis is presented: subjective duration is directly proportional to the physical time required to process the given empty duration. This processing is considered to begin with the detection of the first marker, and to end approximately 80 ms after the detection of the second marker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-520
Number of pages36
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


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