Perceived timing and apparent causal relationships

Hewlett, Felicia (2012). Perceived timing and apparent causal relationships Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hewlett, Felicia
Thesis Title Perceived timing and apparent causal relationships
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Derek Arnold
Total pages 86
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Little is known about the mechanisms that underlie time perception. In the past, it has been assumed that temporal coincidence plays a key role when deciding if two events are causally related. The present study asked the opposite question: is the perception of simultaneity shaped by whether two events seem to be causally related? This was done using a computerised sequence, based on the launch illusion, which gave the impression of causality between three horizontally moving dots. There were two conditions: “causal flankers”, which gave the illusion that the dots on the outside were causing the movement of the central dot, and “causal target”, which gave the illusion that the central dot caused the movement of those on the outside. It was investigated whether a causal relationship could be found across modalities using audio-visual stimuli (experiment one), in a purely visual context (experiment two) and in visual binding (experiment three). It was hypothesised that introducing an apparent causal relationship coinciding with the onset of target motion would induce a shift in timing perception toward that specific epoch. Results showed that there was a significant difference between the causal target and causal flanker conditions for both the onset and offset of the target dot motion. These findings demonstrate that introducing a causal relationship influenced participants’ perception of time.
Keyword Perceived timing
Causal relationships

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Created: Thu, 28 Feb 2013, 14:34:58 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology