Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

The Effect of Marker Size on the Perception of an Empty Interval

Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

The Effect of Marker Size on the Perception of an Empty Interval

Article excerpt

Research shows that the time that is spent perceiving a brief visual stimulus is experienced as increasing as the size of the stimulus increases. We examined whether the experienced duration of time that is spent attending the perception of an empty interval-demarcated by the offset of one marker and the onset of a second marker-depends on the size of the markers themselves. Previous theories predict that the perceived time that is spent viewing offset-to-onset intervals decreases as the size of the markers increases, and that the perceived time that is spent viewing the markers increases. We demonstrated that empty intervals between the presentations of large markers were perceived to be longer in duration than those occurring between the presentations of small markers, and that the second marker was critical to this effect of physical size on apparent duration. We report that the size effect disappeared when the interval was filled with the presentation of a circle, and we conclude that the intensity of the second marker altered perceptions in an empty-interval-specific manner.

Substantial evidence indicates that subjective perceptions of time do not exactly match the actual duration of an event; rather, perceived durations stretch or contract depending on properties that are ostensibly independent of elapsed time. For example, the perceived durations of briefly presented stimuli increase as the area size (Long & Beaton, 1980; Thomas & Cantor, 1975), number (Mo, 1975), or complexity (Schiffman & Bobko, 1974) of such stimuli increases. Researchers have explained the changes in time perception in terms of some kind of internal clock (Treisman, 1963) that regulates judgments of time spans. This internal clock, it has been suggested, becomes faster in response to the attention or arousal that is evoked by perceptions of more numerous, larger, and/or more complex stimuli. This increased clock speed leads to an increased number of counts in a given period, which eventually leads to elongated perception of time.

Thus far, studies have focused primarily on the perception of elapsed time that is filled with stimuli; perceptions of time that is not filled with stimuli should prove equally important to our understanding of many kinds of behaviors that require exact timing (e.g., cooking, sports, or playing music). The present study investigates how humans perceive the duration of time during an empty interval (i.e., one that is not filled with stimuli) that is separated by two markers indicating the beginning (the offset of the first marker) and the end (the onset of the second marker) of the interval. According to the internal-marker hypothesis (Grondin, 1993)-one of the most dominant in the field-internal markers are determined by the perceptions of the offset of the first stimulus and the onset of the second stimulus (Grondin, Ivry, Franz, Perreault, & Metth?, 1996; Tse & Penney, 2006). According to the internal-marker hypothesis, experimental manipulation can change the perceived duration of time that is spent viewing an empty interval, so that the perceived duration becomes shorter when the perception of the offset of the first stimulus is delayed or when the perception of the onset of the second stimulus is accelerated.

We examined the effect of the size of markers on the perceived duration of the time that is used to view an empty area between the markers; we expected the sizes of the markers to affect perceptions about offset and onset. On the basis of findings that the perceived duration of time that is required to view a visual stimulus increases as the size of that stimulus increases (Long & Beaton, 1980; Thomas & Cantor, 1975), we hypothesized that the perceived offset of a large first marker would be delayed in comparison with that of a small marker, even when the actual time of marker exposure remained constant. In addition, perception of stimulus onset has been reported to occur sooner when the intensity of a given stimulus is increased (Pi? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.