In a recent article by Martin Riemer, Myself and Thomas Wolbers published in Neural Plasticity we uncovered evidence that uncertainty about the timing of intervals is independent of temporal reproduction.
Martin has published a few papers recently along the idea of time being the 'view from nowhen', That is, due to the way time flows, there are necessary peculiarities when measuring temporal properties. A common finding in the literature is that, on average, subjects reproduce intervals as slightly shorter than what they are. This is usually called the 'negative error', and has been explained by Martin as due to a general judgment bias towards earlier responses, instead of reflecting a genuine misperception of temporal intervals.
We applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to inhibit neuronal processes in the right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and tested its effects on time discrimination and reproduction tasks. The results show increased certainty for discriminative time judgments after PPC inhibition. They suggest that the right PPC plays an inhibitory role for time perception, possibly by mediating the multisensory integration between temporal stimuli and other quantities. Importantly, this increased judgment certainty had no influence on the degree of temporal underreproduction. We conclude that the systematic underreproduction of time is not caused by uncertainty for temporal judgments.
Paper can be found here:
A few months ago, Myself, Susan Li and Max Di Luca published a paper in Timing & Time Perception that showed how the perceived timing of events in a sequence of regularly-timed tones is not perfect.
That is, to perceive tones as being 'on time' you have to present them slightly later than regular timing (Figure top panel). Things presented on time are not perceived as being on time. This is quite surprising and counterintuitive, and indeed is opposite to what most models of time perception predict. This means that stimuli presented 'on time' are actually perceived slightly earlier, as such we suggest they are actually perceptually accelerated... Why? Well if you believe in things like entrainment and the active sensing framework, then when temporal attention is directed towards a particular point in time, the increase in attentional resources facilitates the perception of things encountered at the expected time, and as such, gives them a little kick forward (Figure, bottom panel).
We also found that temporal sensitivity to temporal irregularities increases as the amount of stimuli in a sequence increases. This is not a new finding, and has been reported lots of times in different ways... however, in this paper, we compared different models of temporal sensitivity, and formulated some interval based models to be predictive about the perceived (event) timing of events. We find that actually, most of the models are mathematically the same, but they cannot deal with formulating estimates of temporal sensitivity and perceived timing.
Maybe a new model is needed that can model both the perceived timing and temporal sensitivity of events....? Obvious foreshadowing there.
A pre-print of this paper is found in the 'Publications' page of this website for more technical summaries of the models and methods used in this paper.
So for quite a long time, I have been thinking that the time perception community really needs a conference to itself. Usually, 'time' gets lumped on at the end of other conferences and that's the end of that.
Now, the wonderful Argiro Vatakis and Sundeep Teki have put together a new society for promoting multidiscplinary research on timing and time perception: The Timing Research Forum. This is a massive step in the right direction, and follows on from the wonderful work Argie did with the 'TIMELY' initiative. TIMELY ran for a few years, and allowed researchers to come together and talk about time. I personally benefitted from some great workshops by some top guys in the field. So I am super happy this has been translated to a real society. Membership is free so register if interested!