Dedicated and intrinsic models of time perception

Trends Cogn Sci. 2008 Jul;12(7):273-80. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.04.002. Epub 2008 Jun 6.


Two general frameworks have been articulated to describe how the passage of time is perceived. One emphasizes that the judgment of the duration of a stimulus depends on the operation of dedicated neural mechanisms specialized for representing the temporal relationships between events. Alternatively, the representation of duration could be ubiquitous, arising from the intrinsic dynamics of nondedicated neural mechanisms. In such models, duration might be encoded directly through the amount of activation of sensory processes or as spatial patterns of activity in a network of neurons. Although intrinsic models are neurally plausible, we highlight several issues that must be addressed before we dispense with models of duration perception that are based on dedicated processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological / physiology
  • Time Perception / physiology*