Log versus linear timing in human temporal bisection: A signal detection theory study

J Exp Psychol Anim Learn Cogn. 2018 Oct;44(4):396-408. doi: 10.1037/xan0000184.


Using signal detection theory, we investigated whether human participants represent time linearly or logarithmically in a bisection task. Participants saw a stimulus 1.0 to 1.5 s in duration, and then judged whether the stimulus duration was closer to 1.0 s or to 1.5 s, and how sure they were of their response. Whereas the mean of the subjective stimulus duration was a linear function of the objective stimulus duration, participants produced remarkably different psychophysical functions-linear for some participants, concave for others, and convex for still others. Hence, the appropriate question might not be whether humans encode time linearly or logarithmically, but for which participants and under which conditions is time encoded linearly, logarithmically, or even exponentially. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Correlation of Data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Normal Distribution
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychometrics
  • Signal Detection, Psychological / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult