Time perception of visual motion is tuned by the motor representation of human actions

Sci Rep. 2013:3:1168. doi: 10.1038/srep01168. Epub 2013 Jan 30.


Several studies have shown that the observation of a rapidly moving stimulus dilates our perception of time. However, this effect appears to be at odds with the fact that our interactions both with environment and with each other are temporally accurate. This work exploits this paradox to investigate whether the temporal accuracy of visual motion uses motor representations of actions. To this aim, the stimuli were a dot moving with kinematics belonging or not to the human motor repertoire and displayed at different velocities. Participants had to replicate its duration with two tasks differing in the underlying motor plan. Results show that independently of the task's motor plan, the temporal accuracy and precision depend on the correspondence between the stimulus' kinematics and the observer's motor competencies. Our data suggest that the temporal mechanism of visual motion exploits a temporal visuomotor representation tuned by the motor knowledge of human actions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Time Perception*
  • Visual Perception*
  • Young Adult