Preamble to the Special Issue ‘Subjective Duration’: A Renaissance in Timing

in Timing & Time Perception
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This paper is an introduction to the Special Issue on ‘Subjective Duration’ that treats time from a range of perspectives. It presents a brief account of the relatively recent rise of research activity in timing in the areas of conditioning, and highlights the dynamic interest in timing and temporal perception beyond the domain of psychology to philosophy, the arts, and neuroscience.

Preamble to the Special Issue ‘Subjective Duration’: A Renaissance in Timing

in Timing & Time Perception


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    The percentage of responses of the experimental and control groups. (The adaptation and acquisition curves are plotted in 70-trial blocks and those of extinction and spontaneous recovery in 35-trial blocks.) Durations are in seconds; E = experimental; C = control. Reprinted from Schneiderman and Gormezano (1964). © 1964 by American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.

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    Local rates of key-pecking maintained by three FI times since reinforcement (four pigeons). Reprinted from Catania and Reynolds (1968), p. 356. © 1999–2014 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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    Relative rate as a function of relative time in fixed intervals of 30, 300, and 3000 s. Schoenfeld, W. N., The theory of reinforcement schedules, p. 48. © 1970. Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA.

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    Scalar property: timescale invariance in the distribution of conditioned responses. The left panels show responding of three birds (4660, 4662, and 4670) on the peak procedure in blocked sessions at reinforcement latencies of 30 and 50 s (unreinforced conditioned-stimulus [CS] durations of 90 and 150 s, respectively). Vertical bars at the reinforcement latencies have heights equal to the peaks of the corresponding distributions. The right panels show the same functions normalized with respect to CS time and peak rate (so that vertical bars would superimpose). Note that although the distributions differ between birds, both in their shape and in whether they peak before or after the reinforcement latency, they superimpose when normalized (rescaled). The data are replotted from data originally reported in Gibbon et al. (1997). Reprinted from Gallistel and Gibbon (2000). © 1964 by American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.

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    Top panel: Group mean proximity (proportion of time proximal to the key) in successive 3-s bins for short, medium, and long trials. Bottom panel: Group mean relative proximity to the key in successive sixth s of the short, medium, and long trials. Results for the delay and trace groups are represented in the left and right panels, respectively. Graphs are based on the last 25 sessions of training. Reprinted from Brown et al. (1997), p. 47. Reprinted with permission from Taylor & Francis Ltd. (

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    Schematic representation of the information processing model of timing, consisting of clock, memory, and decision modules. Adapted from Allan (1998), p. 102. © 1998 by Elsevier. Adapted with permission.

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    Graphical representation of the number of articles published at 10-year intervals over the last ten decades in a PsychInfo search with ‘(temporal or time) and perception’, ‘(visual or vision) and perception’, ‘(auditory or audition) and perception’ as filters.

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