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Types of temporal illusions

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A temporal illusion is a distortion in the perception of time, which occurs when the time interval between two or more events is very narrow (typically less than a second). In such cases, a person may momentarily perceive time as slowing down, stopping, speeding up, or running backwards.

Additionally, a person may misperceive the temporal order of these events.

Short list of types of temporal illusions:

Telescoping effect: People tend to recall recent events as occurring further back in time than they actually did (backward telescoping) and distant events as occurring more recently than they actually did (forward telescoping).[17]
Vierordt's law: Shorter intervals tend to be overestimated while longer intervals tend to be underestimated
Time intervals associated with more changes may be perceived as longer than intervals with fewer changes
Perceived temporal length of a given task may shorten with greater motivation
Perceived temporal length of a given task may stretch when broken up or interrupted
Auditory stimuli may appear to last longer than visual stimuli[18][19][20][21]
Time durations may appear longer with greater stimulus intensity (e.g., auditory loudness or pitch)
Simultaneity judgments can be manipulated by repeated exposure to non-simultaneous stimuli.

Dyschronometria. Dyschronometria is the medical term used to describe a patient who cannot accurately estimate the amount of time that has passed (i.e., distorted time perception).


This can be a sign of cerebellar ataxia.[1][2] which is when the cerebellum has been damaged and does not function to its fullest ability. Lesions to the cerebellum can cause dyssynergia, dysmetria, dysdiadochokinesia, dysarthria, and ataxia of stance and gait.[3] as well as a precursor for a patient who will be having a stroke.

Dyschronometria is an autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia (ADCA) which usually means the ataxia is a less debilitating than an autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia, or an ataxia that is linked to the X-chromosome.[4] Signs and symptoms[edit] Common signs of having dyschronometria are lack of spatial awareness, poor short term memory, inability to keep track of time. Slow motion perception. Slow motion perception is a subjective perception of time in which things are perceived as passing by slower than the normal perception of time.

Slow motion perception

To a bystander watching a life-threatening situation such as an accident, time is moving at a normal speed. However, to the individual in the accident, time seems to have slowed down. As a result, the individual in the accident may be able to think faster and act faster during these events. However, even though individuals commonly report that time seems to have moved in slow motion during these events, it is unknown whether this is a function of increased time resolution during the event, or, instead, an illusion of remembering an emotionally salient event. Research conducted by David Eagleman has suggested that time does not actually run in slow motion for a person during a life-threatening event, but, rather, it is only a retrospective assessment that brings that person to such a conclusion. Chronostasis. The most well-known version of this illusion is known as the stopped-clock illusion, wherein a subject's first impression of the second-hand movement of an analog clock, subsequent to one's directed attention (i.e. saccade) to the clock, is the perception of a slower-than-normal second-hand movement rate: when first observing the second hand it appears to remain stationary for longer than the subsequent periods between movements.[3][4][5][6] This illusion can also occur in the auditory and tactile domain.


For instance, a study suggests that when someone listens to a ringing tone through a telephone, while repetitively switching the receiver from one ear to the other, it causes the caller to overestimate the temporal duration between rings.[1] Mechanism of action[edit] A timeline of the sensation and perception of chronostasis within the context of a student in a classroom. This depicts the mechanism of action described above. Modulating factors[edit] Kappa effect. The kappa effect in different sensory modalities[edit] The kappa effect can occur with visual (e.g., flashes of light), auditory (e.g., tones), or tactile (e.g. taps to the skin) stimuli.

Kappa effect

Many studies of the kappa effect have been conducted using visual stimuli. For example, suppose three light sources, X, Y, and Z, are flashed successively in the dark with equal time intervals between each of the flashes. If the light sources are placed at different positions, with X and Y closer together than Y and Z, the temporal interval between the X and Y flashes is perceived to be shorter than that between the Y and Z flashes.[1] The kappa effect has also been demonstrated with auditory stimuli that move in frequency.[2] However, in some experimental paradigms the auditory kappa effect has not been observed.

Theories based in velocity expectation[edit] Physically, traversed space and elapsed time are linked by velocity. The oddball effect. Effects of emotional states. Changes with age.

Effects of drugs

Effects of body temperature. Reversal of temporal order judgement. Flash-lag effect. Effects of clinical disorders.