It is well established that the temporal proximity of two events is a fundamental cue to causality. Recent research with adults has shown that this relation is bidirectional: events that are believed to be causally related are perceived as occurring closer together in time-the so-called temporal binding effect. Here, we examined the developmental origins of temporal binding. Participants predicted when an event that was either caused by a button press, or preceded by a non-causal signal, would occur. We demonstrate for the first time that children as young as 4 years are susceptible to temporal binding. Binding occurred both when the button press was executed via intentional action, and when a machine caused it. These results suggest binding is a fundamental, early developing property of perception and grounded in causal knowledge. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQC_MqjxZQQ.
Keywords: causal binding; causality; intentional action; temporal binding; temporal contiguity; time perception.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.