"Flash" dance: how speed modulates percieved duration in dancers and non-dancers

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2014 Mar;147:17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.06.009. Epub 2013 Aug 1.


Speed has been proposed as a modulating factor on duration estimation. However, the different measurement methodologies and experimental designs used have led to inconsistent results across studies, and, thus, the issue of how speed modulates time estimation remains unresolved. Additionally, no studies have looked into the role of expertise on spatiotemporal tasks (tasks requiring high temporal and spatial acuity; e.g., dancing) and susceptibility to modulations of speed in timing judgments. In the present study, therefore, using naturalistic, dynamic dance stimuli, we aimed at defining the role of speed and the interaction of speed and experience on time estimation. We presented videos of a dancer performing identical ballet steps in fast and slow versions, while controlling for the number of changes present. Professional dancers and non-dancers performed duration judgments through a production and a reproduction task. Analysis revealed a significantly larger underestimation of fast videos as compared to slow ones during reproduction. The exact opposite result was true for the production task. Dancers were significantly less variable in their time estimations as compared to non-dancers. Speed and experience, therefore, affect the participants' estimates of time. Results are discussed in association to the theoretical framework of current models by focusing on the role of attention.

Keywords: Attention; Dance; Production task; Reproduction task; Speed; Time estimation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Dancing / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology