Time-shrinking: The process of unilateral temporal assimilation

Yoshitaka Nakajima, Gert Ten Hoopen, Takayuki Sasaki, Katsuyuki Yamamoto, Masahiro Kadota, Michel Simons, Daigoh Suetomi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)


    Our previous research on auditory time perception showed that the duration of empty time intervals shorter than about 250 ms can be underestimated hugely if they are immediately preceded by shorter time intervals. We named this illusion 'time-shrinking' (TS). This study comprises four experiments in which the preceding interval, t1, was followed by a standard interval, t2. When t1 ≤ 200 ms, and t1 ≤ t 2, the underestimation of t2 came into view clearly. The absolute difference between t2 and t1 was the crucial factor for the illusion to appear. The underestimation increased when t 2 increased from t1 to t1 + 65 ms, stayed at about 45 ms when t2 was between t1 + 65 ms and t 1 + 95 ms, and disappeared suddenly when t2 exceeded t1 + 95 ms. This pattern of results was observed across all values of t1 ≤ 200 ms. A model was fit to the data to elucidate the underlying process of the illusion. The model states that the perceived duration difference between t1 and t2 is reduced by cutting mental processing time for t2; in other words, that t2 assimilates to t1.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1061-1079
    Number of pages19
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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