Literature Review Essay Example on Time Perception

Published: 2017-12-06
Literature Review Essay Example on Time Perception
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1617 words
14 min read

Understanding Key Concepts

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Time perception has been approached in different dimensions by researchers to try to relate it to other domains through integrated models and related principles (Matthews and Meck, 2016). Consequently, the review has specified on key principles that link the temporal cognition with other psychological processes. Precisely, the review focuses on the ways that the subjective duration is affected by factors such as perception, attention, and memory. In this study, perception has been defined as the non-temporal stimulus properties while attention is the process of allocating properties. Memories are the experiences that lead to a stimulus at a specified duration (Matthews and Meck, 2016).

A processing principle occurs in a situation where the perceived time is positively related to the perceptual vividity where there exists ease in extracting information from the stimulus. Consequently, this empirical generalization of information creates a starting point for various theoretical frameworks as explained in the experiments.

According to Buhusi and Meck (2005), time is ubiquitous while the perception of time is universal based on the temporal extent caused by stimuli. As a result, time judgment takes various behavioral aspects but with a central notion. To come up with detailed results from the research, the study had emphasized on psychological techniques that are related to new information processing models.

An evaluation of past articles shows that the previous researchers used grounded neurobiology to develop quantitative models of time perception. However, a review of this article shows that the approach focuses on ways that the subjective experience of time is related to other principles of cognition and perception. Specifically, the experiments are meant to measure the influence caused by the duration of a time interval by perception, attention, and memory.

Main Objectives of The Studies

Mathew and Meck (2016), state that time perception should be studied in relative isolation from other frameworks since it is regarded as ‘special.' As a result, the study aims to integrate the discussion to ensure that time perception researchers have a link to new domains that have new contributions to the study of time perception.

Macar, Pouthas, and Friedman (1992) have the ideology that the study will present diverse results of the perception, attention, and memory concepts while integrating a unifying framework that assists in the development of new theories (Matthews and Meck, 2016). In short, the aim is directed to improve cross-disciplinary thinking that will lead to the development of new theoretical accounts.

An assumption for the study includes focusing on subjective focus only. This fact means that aspects of time perception such as nature and existence are not put into consideration in the study. Notably, the study is divided into three section that presents different aspects and the progress of the research.

Section One: Studying Subjective Duration

A review on this section portrays the key concepts of the study that set a basis for the other two sections. This section embraces the experimental methods that include the prospective and retrospective judgments. Prospective timing occurs where the participants are presented with the knowledge that temporal judgment will be required in advance. Retrospective, on the other hand, occurs where requests for time judgments occur unexpectedly.

According to Matthews and Meck (2016), the retrospective study is used to study the ‘remembered duration’ whereby stimulus sequences are directed to a single trail per participant. This study will focus on the retrospective approach because of its response to perceptual, memory and attention processes that are the main principles.

Different research approaches have been used for the participants. The psychological function was used to measure the duration of the stimulus in each participant (Matthews and Meck, 2016). Magnitude production tasks are also applied whereby a target duration is used to measure the presented stimuli. The production responses directly implied the subjective duration. Animal learning paradigms were also used in this section to provide a generalization gradient used to measure the observer’s sensitivity aspects.

Generalization of results in this section shows that subjective duration is labile; hence, can be shaped by numerous non-temporal variables. Incorporation of the results into the other section will ensure that there is a correlation between the perceptual-cognitive process and the time duration.

Section 2: Subjective Time and Non-Temporal Properties

A review of this section shows that the study focused on the effect on non-temporal on the duration. Additionally, the overarching theoretical explanations leading to these effects will also be discussed. Since the perceptual judgments vary based on the subjective experience, and participant’s responsive strategy, there is the need to have a detailed study that includes more variables (Matthews and Meck, 2016). Subsequently, there study used the apparent duration, judged duration, and subjective duration to ensure diversified results.

The apparent duration is the positive function caused by the intensity of the sensory signal (Matthews, Stewart, and Wearden, 2011). Notably, a higher electrical stimulation caused an increased subjective stimulation. This principle means that the subjective duration correlates with the magnitude of the stimulus. The study also explains why sounds are judged longer than light.

The influence of non-temporal magnitudes leads to a response strategy or a perceptual confusion whereby large digits objects cause longer stimuli. Another finding is that the stimuli that change at a constant rate cause longer stimuli and judged longer compared to fast-moving and changing stimuli. When it comes to auditory stimuli, the higher pitched notes are judged longer than lower ones.

A few theories have been used to explain principles in this section that include Internal Clock Model, A Common Magnitude System, and Coding Efficiency. However, all the theories work on the same principle that states ‘subjective duration depends on the efficiency of neural coding'.

Section 3: The Allocation of Processing Resources – Attention and Subjective Time

This section focuses on different ways that resources can be used to perfect specific sensors involved in the detection of stimuli. Attention has been described as the process of directing efforts to enhance the processing of specific sensory inputs that affects the apparent duration (Droit-Volet, 2013).

Selective attention has been used to find out the impact of attending to a stimulus. For instance, the presence of selective attention to a stimulus increases the share of limited processing capacity. The attention can be shifted by including cues that indicate or provide more information on the stimuli. In addition, spatial orienting does not affect the endogenous cuing. However, the exogenous spatial cuing directly affects the subjective duration since it involuntarily shifts the attention. Time also has direct effects on the attention levels; hence, affecting the subjective duration.

Emotional stimuli, on the other hand, attract attention and are preferentially processed due to the detection thresholds (Droit-Volet, 2013). The subjective duration is also increased depending on the relevance of the emotional stimuli. Moreover, emotional faces and sounds are also processed differently due to the difference in visual and audio attentions.

Finally, decided attention yields differences in the on time judgments. The differences in cognitive task stimuli cause the loss of attention to one of the tasks. However, the differential in attention is dependent on the level of difficulty of the second task.


The literature review has provided substantial knowledge on the aspects affecting subjective timing as compared to different stimuli. The researches have embarked on various experiments to come up with a better comprehension of the perception, attention and memory attribute (Matthews and Meck, 2016). With the help of prior studies on time perception, the researchers have come up with objectives of the different experiments.

The first section has emphasized on the judgment time and how it can be affected by sensitivity and awareness of a specific stimulus. Concerning practical activities, the results can be explained in real life experiences where one reacts differently to an act that he/she was aware off. The second section portrayed the notion that the intensity of a stimulus has a direct impact on the subjective time (Matthews, Stewart, and Wearden, 2011). The magnitude of a stimulus and its processing time affects the subjective time or reaction as seen in situations where sounds are processed slower than light. The third part has emphasized on the principle of attention and ways it affects the subjective time. Biological and emotional factors have been highlighted and their impact on the subjective time whereby one’s decision-making process is affected by emotions or the introduction of secondary tasks (Tamm, Uusberg, Allik and Kreegipuu, 2014).

Notably, the study has used most of the results to set a basis for future research where relations between attentional selection and subjective time could be incorporated into daily activities. For example, the effects of task relevance could be examined, and the use of money as a stimulus be adopted to ensure multitasking and motivation (Matthews and Meck, 2016). The research could also be employed in schools to emphasize on the emotional stimuli to enhance study methods (Tamm, Uusberg, Allik and Kreegipuu, 2014).

Finally, the review has focused on both theoretical and practical aspects of the study. As a result, it has provided in-depth information to the students, professors, and researcher with the aim of more research in future. The study has assisted in providing a basis for the understanding of the behavioral and psychological aspects surrounding humanity.


Droit-Volet, S. (2013). Time perception, emotions and mood disorders. Journal of Physiology- Paris, 107(4), 255-264.

Matthews, W. J., & Meck, W. H. (2016). Temporal cognition: Connecting subjective time to perception, attention, and memory. Psychological Bulletin, 142(8), 865-907.

Matthews, W. J., Stewart, N., & Wearden, J. H. (2011). Stimulus intensity and the perception of duration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human perception and performance, 37(1), 303.

Tamm, M., Uusberg, A., Allik, J., & Kreegipuu, K. (2014). Emotional modulation of attention affects time perception: Evidence from event-related potentials. Acta psychologica, 149, 148-156.

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