Cognitions about time affect perception, behavior, and physiology - A review on effects of external clock-speed manipulations

Conscious Cogn. 2018 Aug;63:99-109. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2018.06.014. Epub 2018 Jun 30.


Our understanding of (altered) time perception may benefit from investigating its potential effects upon other psychological and physiological parameters. To date, however, only a few rather isolated studies have experimentally manipulated the subjective passage of time or the amount of apparently elapsed duration in order to investigate such effects. Based on our review of these studies, first, altered time perception can be induced effectively by means of rigged (accelerated or decelerated) external clocks, second, these clock-speed manipulations remain unnoticed by most participants, and third, several psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological variables can be affected, e.g., fatigue, hunger, pain perception. However, the existing studies on time-perception manipulation do not systematically relate to each other and the underlying mechanisms of the observed effects are poorly understood. Based on cognitive appraisal theories and the given empirical results, we propose a cognitive framework for interpreting and explaining the effects of manipulations of time perception.

Keywords: Appraisal theories; Cognition; Duration; External clock speed; Mental fatigue; Motivation; Time passage; Time perception.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior* / physiology
  • Cognition* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception* / physiology