In PLOS One

Larger visual changes compress time: The inverted effect of asemantic visual features on interval time perception

Sandra Malpica1,* Belen Masia1 Laura Herman2 Gordon Wetzstein3 David Eagleman4 Diego Gutierrez1 Zoya Bylinskii2 Qi Sun 5,2,*
1Universidad de Zaragoza, I3A 2Adobe, Inc. 3Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University 4Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine 5New York University *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: qisun@nyu.edu (QS) or smalpica@unizar.es (SM)

Task A) Binary task used in Experiments 1-2. Illustrative example for a single trial. During a trial, participants indicated whether “more than half” or “less than half” of the duration had passed, at a temporal sampling point that was 55% of the total duration (16.5s). Task B) The double production task used in Experiment 3. First, participants were presented with an empty scene for 30s (ground truth) while performing an auxiliary task (detecting the presence of A or L on screen with a corresponding keypress). Then they were asked to press a key after 30s had elapsed (empty production task). At this point, the empty scene was replaced with a scene in the H-VC or L-VC condition (high or low visual complexity, respectively). After the change of scene, participants had to press a key when 30 more seconds had elapsed (visual complexity production task). In the H-VC condition, the four screens of the virtual room displayed ifferrent videos at the same time. In the L-VC condition, the four screens presented the same video synchronously.

Abstract

Time perception is fluid and affected by manipulations to visual inputs. Previous literature shows that changes to low-level visual properties alter time judgments at the millisecond-level. At longer intervals, in the span of seconds and minutes, high-level cognitive effects (e.g., emotions, memories) elicited by visual inputs affect time perception, but these effects are confounded with semantic information in these inputs, and are therefore challenging to measure and control. In this work, we investigate the effect of asemantic visual properties (pure visual features devoid of emotional or semantic value) on interval time perception. Our experiments were conducted with binary and production tasks in both conventional and head-mounted displays, testing the effects of four different visual features (spatial luminance contrast, temporal frequency, field of view, and visual complexity). Our results reveal a consistent pattern: larger visual changes all shorten perceived time in intervals of up to 3 minutes, remarkably contrary to their effect on millisecond-level perception. Our findings may help alter participants' time perception, which can have broad real-world implications.

BibTex

@article{10.1371/journal.pone.0265591,
    doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0265591},
    author = {Malpica, Sandra AND Masia, Belen AND Herman, Laura AND Wetzstein, Gordon AND Eagleman, David M. AND Gutierrez, Diego AND Bylinskii, Zoya AND Sun, Qi},
    journal = {PLOS ONE},
    publisher = {Public Library of Science},
    title = {Larger visual changes compress time: The inverted effect of asemantic visual features on interval time perception},
    year = {2022},
    month = {03},
    volume = {17},
    url = {https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0265591},
    pages = {1-21},
    abstract = {Time perception is fluid and affected by manipulations to visual inputs. Previous literature shows that changes to low-level visual properties alter time judgments at the millisecond-level. At longer intervals, in the span of seconds and minutes, high-level cognitive effects (e.g., emotions, memories) elicited by visual inputs affect time perception, but these effects are confounded with semantic information in these inputs, and are therefore challenging to measure and control. In this work, we investigate the effect of asemantic visual properties (pure visual features devoid of emotional or semantic value) on interval time perception. Our experiments were conducted with binary and production tasks in both conventional and head-mounted displays, testing the effects of four different visual features (spatial luminance contrast, temporal frequency, field of view, and visual complexity). Our results reveal a consistent pattern: larger visual changes all shorten perceived time in intervals of up to 3min, remarkably contrary to their effect on millisecond-level perception. Our findings may help alter participants’ time perception, which can have broad real-world implications.},
    number = {3},

}