Slowing the body slows down time perception

Rose De Kock, Weiwei Zhou, Wilsaan M. Joiner, Martin Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Interval timing is a fundamental component of action and is susceptible to motor-related temporal distortions. Previous studies have shown that concurrent movement biases temporal estimates, but have primarily considered self-modulated movement only. However, real-world encounters often include situations in which movement is restricted or perturbed by environmental factors. In the following experiments, we introduced viscous movement environments to externally modulate movement and investigated the resulting effects on temporal perception. In two separate tasks, participants timed auditory intervals while moving a robotic arm that randomly applied four levels of viscosity. Results demonstrated that higher viscosity led to shorter perceived durations. Using a drift-diffusion model and a Bayesian observer model, we confirmed these biasing effects arose from perceptual mechanisms, instead of biases in decision making. These findings suggest that environmental perturbations are an important factor in movement-related temporal distortions, and enhance the current understanding of the interactions of motor activity and cognitive processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63607
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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