Intentional binding of two effects

Psychol Res. 2018 Nov;82(6):1102-1112. doi: 10.1007/s00426-017-0892-4. Epub 2017 Jul 8.


An action that produced an effect is perceived later in time compared to an action that did not produce an effect. Likewise, the effect of an action is perceived earlier in time compared to a stimulus that was not produced by an action. Despite numerous studies on this phenomenon-referred to as Intentional Binding effect (IB)-the underlying mechanisms are still not fully understood. Typically, IB is investigated in settings where the action produces just one single effect, whereas in everyday action contexts, it rather causes a sequence of effects before leading to the desired outcome. Therefore, we investigated IB of two consecutive effects. We observed substantially more IB of a first effect tone compared to a second tone. This pattern was observed for second tones that were temporally predictable (Exp. 1) or not (Exp. 2 and 3). Interestingly, the second tone yielded stronger IB when it was less delayed (Exp. 4). Thus, also an event occurring later in an unfolding action-effect sequence can be bound to its causing action, but it might be less bound to the action than a first effect. Instead of the fact that it is the second of two consecutive effects, this, however, rather seems to be influenced by the longer delay of a second and, therefore, later occurring effect.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult