THE a wait, make underestimate the time spent.

THE EFFECT OF AUDITORY AND VISUAL STIMULY SPEED ACCELERATION
ON TEMPORAL PERCEPTION.

 

The aim of this study is to investigate if a
visual or auditory speed effect, can affect our time perception. To answer this
question an experiment has been conducted on 40 young mixed male and female
students. 20 subjects have been subject of the auditory stimuli, listening a
piece of classical music, half at normal speed and half the same piece but
accelerated. Other 20 subjects participated on the video stimuli watching a
video at normal speed or fast. Participants were asked to estimate 40 seconds
listening the track or watching the video. In this way it will be observed if
subjects overestimates or underestimates the durations of the pieces according
to the tempo (speed) of them. Results showed that there were not significant
differences on the time estimation between groups in both conditions.

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Since ancient times, man has studied and questioned about
the passage of time. This curiosity has led to research into the cognitive
processes involved in knowledge, experimentation and the estimation of time.

Daily tasks such as driving a car, walking or even playing certain sports,
require a time precision of which many times we are not aware of.

From the beginning of the twentieth century psychologists
suggested the existence, in both humans and animals of a biological mechanism:
an internal clock which would allow you to be able to measure time accurately
(Droit-Volet, Delgado and Rattat, 2006). The aim of this study is to investigate
if auditory and visual external condition and the speed of the stimuli can
interfere with our internal clock. Several studies have been conducted to
demonstrate that an auditory stimulus can have an effect on our time
perception. Gueguen & Jacob (2002) found that the presence of music during
a wait, make underestimate the time spent. R.K. Srivastava of the University
of Mumbai, conducted a study that show that costumers tend to eat faster in a
restaurant if the music in the background has a higher speed. In 2004, a study conducted
by the Motoring Club Foundation found that the most dangerous music to drive is
the Wagner Valkyrie Parade, as its rapid rhythm causes driver to step on the
accelerator more. It appears that this phenomenon is increasily known between
classic music composers, some of them are specialized on playing with the listener’s
time, for example Antón Bruckner is famous for his symphonies of more than an
hour that seem shorter when listened. All these experiments seem to confirm that
musical tempo accompany, support and accelerate internal time perception. A
different point of view has been introduced by Fraisse (1984), according to
which the
estimate of the time spent would be proportional to the number of changes perceived.

When changes are frequent, there are many things to pay attention to, and
therefore the duration is estimated as longer. When changes are infrequent,
there is less things that captures our attention, and the duration is estimated
as shorter. This leads us to a new point of contact between music
and temporal perception since there are musical aspects such as the musical
tempo (speed) that could generate changes in the period of time to be
remembered. This is because, for example, a piece of music lasting 4 seconds at
120 Bpm has twice the measures and therefore twice as many stimuli, sounds and
changes as a 4-second piece at 60 Bpm. So the other question is whether or not the
speed (tempo) is a variable that alters the perceived duration of a piece of
music and if the pieces with greater tempo are perceived as more extensive in
terms of their duration, since having more measures and sounds than in a piece
at lower speed, it is likely that it is perceived as longer due to the amount
of changes it has. Whit regard to the effect of a visual stimuli and the influence
that its speed have on the time estimation less research has been done. But
most of the experiment seems to suggest the hypothesis that the amount of
changes on the visual stimulus could provoke a lengthening of the time
perceived.

Brown (1995) conducted 5 experiments to investigate
if the speed of an image can extend or shorten the time estimation. Finding
that timing is affected by the motion and the speed of movements as the
stimulus motion lengthened the perceived time. Similary, Mitrani and Stoyanova
(1982) showed their participants a spot moving horizontally from left to right
and to the other group a stationary spot, both for the same duration, they
found that the moving spot was estimated to last longer than the stationary one.

More recently,
Beckmann and Young (2009) showed their subjects videos of a sphere rotating at
different speeds. As the speed increased, the perceived duration increased.

Moreover, with different analyzes and mathematical models showed that it was
not simply the higher speed, but an increase in the amount of changes perceived
which led to overestimate the time elapsed. Another interesting experiment was
conducted by Giovanna Mioni & Dan Zakay & Simon Grondin(2015). They
wanted to investigate if showing to participants a visual representing fastness
or slowness, would have affected their time perception. They used a picture of
a motorbike to represent fastness and a bicycle to represent slowness. the
study showed that subject perceived shorter duration when the image of the fast
object was presented. However, some others studies found that music tempo has any effect on
time estimation (Adrian C. North, David J. Hargreaves, Sarah J. Heat 1998) and
that there is no significant difference in perceived duration between fast or
slow music (Steve Oakes 1999).

 

 

Procedure:

The
experiment has been conducted on 40 subjects. Young male and female from 20 to
30 years old. Participants has been divided in four groups of ten (A1, A2, B1,
B2). Group A1 performed the auditory task with normal speed, consisting on
listen the Beethoven 5th symphony at the original speed (85bpm) and
try to estimate 40 seconds, after that say “now” so the experimenter stops the
chronometer. Group A2 have the same task but this time the track was accelerated
in 127,5 bpm. For the visual condition participant of group B1 had to estimate
40 second looking at a video of a tunnel while group B2 participants had to
watch the same video but again accelerated speed by 1.5. Every task has been
repeated for three times. Experiment has been conducted in a quiet room and all
the participant has been debriefed after the trials. To show the video and to
listen the music we used our laptops and earphones.

 

Participants

The
participants were 40 in total. 20 females, 20 males between 20 and 30 years
old. Some of the subjects were University of Westminster and some were
experimenter’s acquaintances. None of the participants had auditory or visual
problems.

 

Materials

The study
has been conducted on the group study rooms of the University of Westminster
and all the participants filled a consent form before to start. For this
experiment, we used our personal laptop to reproduce the auditory and video
stimuli. For the auditory task the video of the Beethoven 5th
symphony has been played via you tube on the laptop with earphones. for the
video task, we create a you tube video of the moving tunnel as the website give
you the possibility to easily accelerate the video. To time the participants,
we used chronometers on our phones and we created and printed tables to score
all the trials.

 

 

 

 

Results

 

A 2 way
between subject ANOVA was conducted to compare the main effect of the speed and
the interaction between an auditory and visual stimulus on time perception. A
two way analysis of variance was conducted on the influence of two independent
variables (stimuli category and stimuli speed) on the internal time perception.

Stimuli category included two levels (auditory, visual) and stimuli speed
consisted of two levels (normal speed or fast). Results showed that nether
the category of the stimuli (audio, video) F= (1,36)= .12, p=.731, ?2=
.003 nor the speed of it F (1,36)=.55, p=.463, ?2=.015 had an
effect on time estimation of the participants. The mean score in seconds of the
time estimation for normal music speed was (mean=42.40, SD=10.469) and for fast
music speed (mean 44.00, SD=9.404). The mean for the video showed at normal
speed was (mean=40.70, SD=7.288) while for the faster video (mean=43.60,
SD=10.783). Finally, there was no significant interaction between the speed of
the stimuli and the category of it, F= (1,36)=.046, p=.831, ?2=.001.

Therefore, we can say that the hypothesis that individual time perception will
be affected from the speed of an auditory o visual stimulus is rejected.

 

 

Discussion

 

This
experiment was conducted to assess if the speed of an auditory or visual
stimulus can affect the subjective perception of the time. According to our
study the speed of the stimulus and whether or not is visual or
auditory, do not influence time duration estimated. These results contradict
N.Gueguen and C.Jacob (2002) study, as on their experiment music decreases
estimates of time passed compared with the condition where no music was played.

They are also in contradiction with Fraisse (1984) point of view, that assess
that an increased stimulus during a certain period of time will increase the
time perceived. However, subject time perception can be alterated by many
factors. Studies of chronobiology (Luce 1971, Fraisse 1974) have highlighted
the presence of a plurality of internal rhythms, with more or less long cycles,
which offer us different possibilities to experience time, thus influencing the
sense of individual time. Moreover, Dossey (1982) lists a series of factors
capable of altering the sense of time: personal, social, motivational factors,
drug influence, psychic disorders, even changes in light and temperature. An
interesting experiment was conducted by Edlund (1987), that wanted to investigate to what extent the
perception of time can be influenced by the sense of space, and the results
showed that the subjective experience of time would seem directly proportional
to the spatial scale of the environment. The result of our experiment could
have been affected because we used a prospective method, in fact participant
have been informed, before to start of the aim of the study, consequently they
probably direct their attention on counting the seconds instead of paying
attention on the stimuli not influencing the time estimation. In addition, the
nature of both the stimuli were too neutral and not enough emotional thus they were
not able to get the attention of the participant. This confirm Brown (1985)
findings, where participants on prospective condition had a more accurate time
perception then those ones on the retrospective condition. A future experiment
should be set up with a retrospective detection, exposing the participant to
the stimuli and ask just at the end of the trial an estimate of the time
elapsed, so they will not concentrate more on the stimuli. Another possible
reason for the not significant effect, could be the fact that the environment
was not sterile and that would have been appropriate to measure one variable at
time. For example, while measuring the visual stimuli make the room completely
silent while for the auditory condition make the room dark, to let the subject
to immerse on the stimuli.

In
conlusion, the duration experience is the psychological aspect of time
most investigated, possibly because it is the most important and complex in
terms of adaptation to the environment. One of the characteristics that makes
the perception of time enigmatic is that no simple sensory organ or perceptual
system subordinates it. This has allowed many theorists to explain the
experiences of duration in terms of complex relationships between cognitive
processes and interactions, or between cognitive and biological processes. In
fact, human temporal experiences can be studied in different ways depending on
whether simultaneity, succession, temporal order, duration or temporal
perspective are emphasized.