Perceived time slows during fleeting fun or fear

Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2018 Feb;71(2):562-567. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1264000. Epub 2018 Jan 1.

Abstract

Previous psychophysical studies at durations greater than 1000 ms have confirmed the anecdotal reports of an increase in the perceived duration of both positively and negatively valenced emotive stimuli; however, the results of studies at durations less than 1000 ms have been inconsistent. This study further investigated the effect of valence on the perception of durations less than 1000 ms. We used both positively and negatively valenced stimuli in order to compare their effects on the distortion of duration, and we tested multiple data points within the sub-one-second range. We found an increase in the perceived duration of both positively and negatively valenced emotional stimuli at all data points. This is consistent with studies at durations longer than 1000 ms and also with models of temporal processing. We also confirmed that Weber fractions, within the range tested, followed the generalized form of Weber's law.

Keywords: Affective chronometry; Arousal; Cognition; Emotion; Time perception.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Pleasure*
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception / physiology*