Time on your hands - perceived duration of sensory events is biased toward concurrent actions


Perceptual systems must rapidly generate accurate representations of the world from sensory inputs that are corrupted by internal and external noise. We can typically obtain more veridical representations by integrating information from multiple channels, but this integration can lead to biases when inputs are, in fact, not from the same source. Although a considerable amount is known about how different sources of information are combined to influence what we perceive, it is not known whether temporal features are combined. It is vital to address this question given the divergent predictions made by different models of cue combination and time perception concerning the plausibility of cross-modal temporal integration, and the implications that such integration would have for research programs in action control and social cognition. Here we present four experiments investigating the influence of movement duration on the perceived duration of an auditory tone. Participants either explicitly (Experiments 1–2) or implicitly (Experiments 3–4) produced hand movements of shorter or longer durations, while judging the duration of a concurrently presented tone (500–950 ms in duration). Across all experiments, judgments of tone duration were attracted toward the duration of executed movements (i.e., tones were perceived to be longer when executing a movement of longer duration). Our results demonstrate that temporal information associated with movement biases perceived auditory duration, placing important constraints on theories modeling cue integration for state estimation, as well as models of time perception, action control and social cognition