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Nicolas Bisson and Simon Grondin

Time estimation researchers have long been interested in the effects exerted by the time estimation paradigms, the task’s target duration and the nature of the task on the precision and variability of time estimates. Only a few studies though have focused on how these results can be applied to daily life tasks. Hence, the present study aims at exploring these effects with two different tasks: surfing the Internet and playing a video game. Results show that the time estimation paradigms, target duration and task effects normally observed in short and simple tasks can be extended to daily life tasks. Of relevance, the video gaming task was significantly underestimated compared to the Internet surfing task. These findings are discussed in the light of the current time estimation literature.

Open Access

Richard A. Block, Simon Grondin and Dan Zakay

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Giovanna Mioni, Vincent Laflamme, Massimo Grassi and Simon Grondin

The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of the emotional content of words marking brief intervals on the perceived duration of these intervals. Three independent variables were of interest: the gender of the person pronouncing the words, the gender of participants, and the valence (positive or negative) of the words in conjunction with their arousing properties. A bisection task was used and the tests, involving four different combinations of valence and arousing conditions (plus a neutral condition), were randomized within trials. The main results revealed that when the valence is negative, participants responded ‘short’ more often when words were pronounced by women rather than by men, and this effect occurred independently of the arousal condition. The results also revealed that overall, males responded ‘longer’more often than females. Finally, in the negative and low arousal condition, the Weber ratio was higher (lower sensitivity) when a male voice was used than when a female voice was used. This study shows that the gender of the person producing the stimuli whose duration is to be judged should be taken into account when analyzing the effect of emotion on time perception.

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Marilyn Plourde, Pierre-Luc Gamache, Vincent Laflamme and Simon Grondin

This article aims at examining the relationship between temporal skills and reading. According to Tallal, dyslexia may be linked to a global deficit in temporal processing, which would be detrimental for discrimination of phonemes, and thus impair reading acquisition. The temporal deficit hypothesis is not consensual, and the exact nature of the temporal deficits assumed to be associated with dyslexia remains unknown. The aim of the present experiment is to better define the temporal processes involved in reading. To do so, elementary school children from 1st to 6th grade with varied reading skills levels were recruited (from weak to very good readers). Each participant performed four temporal tasks, that is, gap detection, temporal order judgement, interval discrimination and interval reproduction; and each task was performed in two different conditions, i.e., with signals marking time delivered in the visual and in the auditory modalities. The results show positive correlations between reading skills and all temporal tasks, in both modalities. We also established a prediction model of reading skills with visual gap detection sensitivity as the best predictor. The results support Tallal’s theory. Temporal deficits in weak readers are global and transcend sensory modalities. The gap detection task in the visual modality shows clinical potential for identifying timing-related reading difficulties, and could be used in future research.

Open Access

Tsuyoshi Kuroda, Simon Grondin, Makoto Miyazaki, Katsuya Ogata and Shozo Tobimatsu

The kappa effect is a spatiotemporal illusion where duration is overestimated with the increase of space. This effect is typically demonstrated with three successive stimuli marking two neighboring empty time intervals, and the classical imputed velocity model, in principle, does not help to predict any spatial effects when only two stimuli, marking single intervals, are presented on each trial. We thus conducted three experiments, examining requirements for the occurrence of the kappa effect with only two visual stimuli. An interstimulus interval between the two stimuli was 217 (short) or 283 ms (long), and participants categorized the presented interval as ‘short’ or ‘long’. The key finding is that participants tended to respond ‘short’ more frequently than ‘long’ when both stimuli were delivered from the same location, whereas the relative frequency of ‘long’ responses was increased when the two stimuli were delivered from different locations in most directions (i.e., horizontally, vertically, diagonally; Experiment 1). This kappa effect clearly occurred when each stimulus was located 8° apart from the fovea in visual angle, but it was reduced when each stimulus was further deviated from the fovea, regardless of whether the two stimuli were presented in the vertical or the horizontal direction (Experiments 2 and 3). Moreover, increasing the spatial distance between the two stimuli from 15 to 30 cm magnified the effect only in a limited condition (Experiment 3). Implications of these results were discussed in terms of the Bayesian model predicting the effects of spatial acuity.

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Simon Grondin, Vincent Laflamme, Giovanna Mioni, André Morin, Félix Désautels and Nicolas Bisson

Sixty-one participants were asked (a) to recall a memory for a period lasting 15 minutes and (b), at the end of this period, to estimate retrospectively the duration of this period. They were assigned to one of four groups: the memory was either joyful or sad, and was recent (within the past two years) or old (when the participant was 7 to 10 years old). The most critical finding is the demonstration that the age of the recalled memory has an impact on the verbal estimation. More specifically, duration is underestimated in the old but not in the recent memory condition. Moreover, in this study, recalling a memory, old or recent, is shown to be an efficient way to generate a joyful or sad emotion. Finally, the results also indicate that there is a significant correlation between the uncertainty related to the duration estimated retrospectively and the score on the present-hedonistic scale of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory.