Feature-based attentional selection affects the perceived duration of a stimulus having two superposed patterns

Vision Res. 2019 Mar:156:46-55. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2018.12.008. Epub 2019 Feb 2.


The perceived duration of a visual event is highly related to stimulus attributes. It is well known that a moving stimulus appears to last longer than a static one does. Previous studies have demonstrated that the time dilation in a moving stimulus can be influenced by perceived motion, rather than by mere physical motion, and that a faster motion appears to last longer than a slower one does. However, whether a top-down attentional set for the feature value can modulate the time dilation in a moving stimulus when two different visual patterns coexist within the same region of the visual field is still unknown. To test this, in Experiment 1, we presented a moving and a static random-dot pattern simultaneously within the same region, and instructed the observer to attend to one of these two patterns. The results demonstrate that perceived duration was longer when attention was directed to the moving, rather than static pattern, although both patterns physically coexisted at the same time and place and for the same duration. In Experiment 2, slow and/or fast moving patterns were presented at the same time and place, and again, feature-based attentional selection affected the perceived duration of the identical physical display. These results suggest that attention to a moving stimulus is an essential factor that determines the time dilation in a moving stimulus. This study revealed that feature-based attention, as opposed to location-based attention, plays an important role in motion-induced time dilation.

Keywords: Duration perception; Feature-based attention; Motion-induced time dilation; Selective attention; Transparent motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Fields / physiology