Time perception, attention, and memory: a selective review

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2014 Jun;149:129-33. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Dec 21.


This article provides a selective review of time perception research, mainly focusing on the authors' research. Aspects of psychological time include simultaneity, successiveness, temporal order, and duration judgments. In contrast to findings at interstimulus intervals or durations less than 3.0-5.0 s, there is little evidence for an "across-senses" effect of perceptual modality (visual vs. auditory) at longer intervals or durations. In addition, the flow of time (events) is a pervasive perceptual illusion, and we review evidence on that. Some temporal information is encoded All rights reserved. relatively automatically into memory: People can judge time-related attributes such as recency, frequency, temporal order, and duration of events. Duration judgments in prospective and retrospective paradigms reveal differences between them, as well as variables that moderate the processes involved. An attentional-gate model is needed to account for prospective judgments, and a contextual-change model is needed to account for retrospective judgments.

Keywords: Attention; Memory; Time estimation; Time perception.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Illusions / physiology*
  • Judgment / physiology
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception